A few weeks ago I posted about Operation Christmas Child and challenged us to pack one more shoe box this year than we did last year. My fellow college students, this challenge is for us too.
I know how easy it is to pull the “But I’m a poor college student!!” excuse, or the “But I’m so busy!” excuse.
These children have nothing. Zip. Nada. This may be their first present ever. Their first time hearing about Jesus. So that shoe box you’re thinking about NOT packing? That’s one less child who could have heard the Gospel.
It’s a hard truth.
We may feel like we have nothing, but these kids really do have nothing.
However, maybe you really are pressed for cash. Maybe you weren’t considering packing a shoe box at all. In that case, I encourage you to pack one more box than nothing at all… Pack one box.
However, the shoe boxes don’t have to be expensive!
1. Hit up the dollar store
Dollar stores are the perfect place to do OCC shopping because they have everything you need in a smaller space AND it’s usually cheaper to buy from the dollar store.
However, there are a few items that might be cheaper to buy at Walmart or another bigger shopping center, especially if you’re buying in bulk. So be sure to check around and compare prices.
2. Buy in bulk
I’ve found over the years that it’s actually cheaper to pack multiple boxes. Then you can buy items in bulk.
For instance, you can buy a set of 5 washcloths for about the same price you could have just bought one. Or buy a jumbo bag of hard candy and spread it out among multiple boxes. Or buy a pack of combs at the dollar store and put one or two in each box. Or buy a box of three toothbrushes and put one in each box.
In fact, most all of what you would put in a shoe box can be bought in bulk.
If you see it would be around the same price to buy one toy car as a pack of three toy cars, it makes more sense to buy the pack of three. Get more bang for your buck.
3. Form a group
You can form a group and have every body pool five dollars or so- that can go a LONG way- and then go shopping together. Or have a packing party and have people sign up for items to bring (example: one person brings toothbrushes, another brings stuffed animals, and another brings crayons).
Then maybe y’all could pack more boxes together than you would on your own AND you have that community aspect. Awesome.
4. Don’t wait until the last minute
Don’t wait to pack your shoe boxes until the Saturday before they’re due. This causes you to feel rushed and you might find yourself throwing random things in your shopping cart- without examining and comparing the prices- in order to save time.
Well, this might save you time, but it probably won’t save you money.
Instead, plan when you’re going to go OCC shopping. Try to shop a week or two before the boxes are due. Maybe buy half of the items one Saturday and the other half the next week.
When you do shop for the items, try not to rush through it. Pray as you shop and ask God to draw certain items to your eye that would bless the child that receives it.
****National Collection Week is November 16-23, 2015****
5. As you’re budgeting, don’t forget about the shipping fee
It is suggested that we donate $7 per shoe box to help pay for the shipping. You can pay online or put cash or a check in the box itself.
So there you go! I hope you have fun packing your shoe boxes this year while not breaking the bank. And remember: try to pack just one more shoe box this year than you think you can. Give a little bit more than is expected of you.
Happy November! And happy packing!