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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

operation christmas child: challenge and giveaway

I'll admit it, I am a holiday addict.  You give me a holiday, and I'll give you an excuse to go overboard.  Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween....I love them all.  But the winter holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, those are my favorites.  So it should come as no surprise that I've got a few things planned for the upcoming holiday season.  The first is Operation Christmas Child.

A couple of weeks ago SouthernSavers.com posted an announcement about an amazing non-profit organization that had never heard of before.  Operation Christmas Child sends shoebox-sized gifts to needy children all over the world at Christmastime.  When I read about it on Jenny's site, I thought it was wonderful idea. I thought it would be nice to participate, and I even thought about posting a link on my own site.  But I didn't really get moving on it.  And then this past Sunday at church, I opened up the bulletin and there was an insert for the very same organization.  As I sat there and read about these children around the globe who literally have nothing, I was struck by the fact that I have so much and they have so little, and I knew it was time to act.

Shopping with coupons has put me into the unique position of having more than I or my family could ever possibly use.  I originally started my Share-the-Wealth Wednesday giveaway as a way to give back to my readers.  But if you read my blog regularly, you are learning for yourself how to use coupons, and, if you don't already, soon you will have more than you need as well.

So why not give back to someone who really needs it?  This holiday season, I will be using my savings skills to gather items to fill as many shoeboxes as I can.  And for those of you who are discovering the joys of coupon shopping along with me (and even those of you who aren't), I am throwing out a challenge:  join me!  Make a commitment to do something this holiday season, whether you fill one box or fifty, or decide to give back in another way.

Packing a shoe box is simple and it could be a fun project to do with your kids, or with a group of friends.  You can choose the gender and age group of the child you fill a box for, and you can even register your box online so that you can track the package online and see where it ends up.  What a great learning opportunity!  For detailed instructions on packing your box and dropping off your donation, click here.

My personal goal is to fill 10 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child by November 22nd, the day the boxes are due back at my church.  In the next few weeks, I will post updates on my progress as well as thrifty ideas for items to fill the boxes.

I encourage all of you to set your own goal and post it in a comment below, and to help others participate by sharing box filler ideas.  I also encourage you to get as many of your friends and family to participate as well so that together, we can make a big difference in a lot of children's lives this Christmas.

On November 22nd,  the day the boxes are due, I will randomly pick three participants to each win a $15 Starbucks Gift Card, just my personal way of saying "thank you" for joining me.  To be eligible to win the gift card, all you have to do is post a comment below on how you plan to "give back" this holiday season.


35 comments:

  1. LOVE this idea, Ruth!! I'm excited that there is a drop-off location near me! I will definitely plan on putting together a box or two...and am going to see if I can get some friends to do the same! :)

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  2. I already started to collect toothpaste and toothbrushes for the shoeboxes. I think that is one of the most fulfilling things about couponing.. You can drop food or items in a donation bin and it never causes a ripple in your budget, but makes a huge difference for others! .12 pasta and .50 cent sauce is fun at first, then it's so much more than that.
    Keep up the great work!

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  3. Love it! I will definitely be participating! Good work!

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  4. When the boys were young we used to do the shoe boxes all the time. They were a great way to teach giving to children and that the holidays were not all about them.

    This gave me an idea for our own food and clothing pantry we are starting up - so many needs right here in the US too.

    bee blessed
    mary

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  5. I think Operation Christmas Child is excellent...I used to volunteer with them. Instead of a lot of material gifts this year, I will be making more donations in honor of my loved ones, most likely to orgs such as the Heifer Project. Thanks for giving back!

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  6. Wow. thanks for the info. I'm definitely getting in on this. This would be a great activity to do with my son. He's only 19 months old, but it's never to early to start teaching about being kind towards others and giving to those less fortunate.

    I looked it up and there happens to be a church about 10 minutes from where I live. So, I'll definitely be dropping off as many boxes as I can!

    Thanks again!
    http://alwaysaroundboys.blogspot.com

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  7. I plan to bake some dessert and give it to the homeless feeding ministry in my church.

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  8. Hi, I'll be donating to the Water Street Rescue Mission so they can feed hungry people in our area. Thanks for the great giveaway!
    maddiemb (at) comcast (dot) net

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  9. We'll be doing 2 boxes this year...one from me, and one from a. Additionally, we always purchase a gift for a child from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.
    ~K
    bigklittlea at gmail

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  10. I donate coats for "coats for kids" and we always put money in the salvation army kettles in front of our local stores :)

    marci
    tristatecruisers at yahoo dot com

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  11. Already on the ball! My youth group at church is well on it's way to 25 boxes. I donated at least 20 tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes, crayons, pens, pencils, soap, and deoderant. Most of this stuff was free. Operation Christmas Child is one of my absolute FAVORITE things to do each year!

    -Micaela
    couponcrazee at ymail dot com

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  12. My husband is a youth minister at a small church and we always load up the students and go shop and pack shoe boxes together. But I am so pumped at the idea of using coupons! I am new at it and cant wait. Hope to help each student pack one box. Thanks for the challenge.

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  13. I love packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child!! My family and I have been doing this along with our church for many years. We have even traveled to work at the process center several times. I am always looking for clearence items through out the year for our boxes. We usually pack 6-10 but I have started couponing since last Christmas and I am so excited to have so much "free" stuff to send this year!!! I have already started putting my boxes together. My goal is to have at least 20!! :)

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  14. I've got to tell you a story about one of the past years when we fixed shoeboxes. Our (then) 11 yr old son put an art tablet in his box with a signed drawing on the first page. (drawing is one of his God-given talents) Several years later, my husband's cousin took his family to India to visit a mission that they were supporting. While there, one of his daughters was watching a boy drawing. While flipping thru his artwork, she was astounded to come across Tony's signature! It was so gratifying to us to know that our gift was still being used years later, and so good of God to arrange for someone we know to find that!

    This year is different for us, both in the fact that we don't have the cash to go buy stuff to fill shoeboxes as well as the fact that I have an abundance of items already because of couponing! So thank God for coupons! :)

    Btw, how will you find us to give the gift cards to (if we win) if we don't have our own website, etc.? Couldn't find a place to put my email.

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  15. My bible study group at church is doing this! We are compiling them as a team and then sending them out! I saw your post on SS- where I got the ideas for the deals for most of my items. Thanks!

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  16. I just saw your link through southernsavers! I love doing Operation Christmas Boxes. I think this is the 6th year my family has done it. I try to collect things throughout the year so I have a stash to pick from come November! I have to pull out all the stuff to see how many boxes we can do. Fun times and an awesome ministry!

    dkfelty at gmail

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  17. I am putting together several boxes and am encouraging family and friends to do the same.

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  18. I am putting together several boxes for OCC and am encouraging my friends & family to join me.

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  19. You can help others by donating to sub for Santa or giving trees. We do a giving Tree every year at my work and I always try to help Sub for Santa because when I was a single mom trying to make it I know there was one year they really saved me.

    Ashlower8701 at gmail.com

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  20. I love packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child!! My family and I have been doing this along with our church for many years. We have even traveled to work at the process center several times. I am always looking for clearence items through out the year for our boxes. We usually pack 6-10 but I have started couponing since last Christmas and I am so excited to have so much "free" stuff to send this year!!! I have already started putting my boxes together. My goal is to have at least 20!! :)

    musiclady0110@yahoo.com

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  21. I am so excited to be a part of Operation Christmas Child. I am already thinking about all kinds of different things I can give and how I can decorate the box :) Very very excited to give to kids who will really appreciate the little things.


    lswmom2010@hotmail.com

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  22. I saw your post on southern savers, this is the first year we have heard about this and we think it's wonderful! We started couponing this year, and have such a stash of "extras" we got for free we were easily able to make two boxes without leaving home, and could even include toys in each one! We still plan to run out for a few things, but this is just awesome!

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  23. What a great reminder of how fortunate we truely are, and what a gift it is to give! I haven't started my coupon shopping yet, yes I am a slacker........ so, my give back will be to start the coupon craze for the people who need it most! I bet I can fill 5 by thanksgiving! Thanks for the inspiration!
    desi.clark2k@gmail.com

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  24. I am a little Crazy for Shoe Boxes... I shop all year round... Try to wait till things are 70% off to start shopping.... 90% of is even better... I love 10 to 50 cent flip flops at Dollar General.... And clearence at Party City I got 8 packs of items for .50 cents... The best find was 12 pencil sharpeners for 50 cents...

    I also get my self happy meals when I am traveling and save the toy for my boxes....

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  25. I give back year round. Whenever I can find something on our local homeless shelter wish list that is free or cheap, I pick it up to donate. Our shelter serves men, women, and children, so there is usually something to find each week. I save them up for the monthly trip to the shelter to serve food.

    Nicholas334@cs.com

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  26. Well, I just found your blog and love it! And I love this idea even more. I am new to couponing and think it is a great way to use our resources wisely and help others at the same time. We are doing 3 boxes this year (one for each of my children). I think we will do more next year now that I am seeing all the great ways to use coupons and drugstore deals to buy more!

    Last month I bought some items (that I didn't need) that ended up being almost free and donated them to the food pantry at my church. Can't let a good deal go unused for a good cause:)

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  27. We did two boxes this year. I'm excited about the bar code tracking so I can see where they end up!

    Love your blog!

    rbrown31516@yahoo.com

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  28. We made 20 boxes this year, with the help of my 4 nieces. they enjoy picking out items for the kids. Last year ours went to Madagascar, which was pretty cool!

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  29. We always try to do at least one, or several giving projects around the holidays, from the abundance that God has blessed our family with. This year my husband (our only income) lost his job, so we aren't able to do quite what we would normally do, but we are excited nonetheless!

    This is our first year to do a shoebox. I was very excited to take our 4 yr old to the Christian bookstore and have him turn it in. My mom and I are also doing a secret giving project - sending food and supplies to a single lady. For whom much is given, much is required - and what a JOY it is to fill this requirement!!
    Blessings,
    Kim
    luv2coupon79@yahoo.com

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  30. Yesterday we were super excited to drop off our 4 "shoe boxes" at church. Each year each of my children fill up a box with items they buy with their own money. They love the opportunity to be able to bless others. My oldest daughter is already planning for next year and planning on buying items all through the year so we can fill up as many boxes as possible.

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  31. My son and I dropped off our Lego looking box last week. We had so much fun!

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  32. The kids each made a box for someone their age and sex. Then they picked out toys that they would like. We will be dropping them off today!

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  33. houseofjoy2000@yahoo.comNovember 17, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    Since our oldest 2 kids were toddlers a few years ago, it's been a family tradition to fill a shoebox from each person in our family. We have added a baby to our family each of the last 3 Christmases so this year we filled 7 shoeboxes! I hope my kids always remember the blessing of giving through Operation Christmas Child that kicks off the Christmas season each year.

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  34. The way I plan on giving back this Holiday season is two parts actually. I am hosting lots of giveaways on my blog: http://thespottdfrog.blogspot.com and the second part is I am hosting an ornament decorating party with the MOPS group I attend. I am making paper mache ball ornaments and allowing them and their kids to paint/decorate them and also feeding them lots of yummy food :)

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  35. We had some much fun making our boxes! I can't remember if someone here or on the OCC website recommended soccer balls and pumps for kids, but my husband and I had a great time figuring out how to deflate balls for older boys so they would be able to play a group game. I am a huge fan of soccer and a fan of ninemillion DOT org, it's a UN refugee agency charity that uses soccer as a sports and education tool to build self esteem and change children's lives. Whoever thought of the ball and the pump THANK YOU! Peace, Love and Merry Christmas a little early!

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