Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Plea for Soap and Shoeboxes

No, this is not another random post.


I'm actually serious about this.


In a past post, I've mentioned that LOML and I attend a Baptist church. Now, while I don't believe in organized religion, there are parts of it that please me and one thing about our church that I believe in whole heartedly is Operation Christmas Child.


If you don't know what Operation Christmas Child is, I'll let my little friend Wikipedia tell you:



Operation Christmas Child (OCC) was begun by Dave and Jill Cooke of Wrexham, Wales in 1990 to send gifts and supplies to children in Romanian orphanages. The program was adopted by Samaritan's Purse in 1993, when 28,000 shoe boxes were delivered to children in war-torn Bosnia. Since then, Samaritan's Purse has collected and distributed more than 68 million boxes to boys and girls in over 135 countries.


Though there are thousands of volunteers around the world who work year-round, this project generally begins in the month of September and finishes with a worldwide collection week near the middle of November. Groups, families, and individuals in 11 countries pack shoe boxes with gifts selected for a child of a specific age range and gender (for either a boy or a girl, and either in the 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 age range). The most common items placed in the boxes are school supplies, small toys, and hygiene products. The boxes are then collected by Samaritan's Purse and shipped to developing countries, where they are distributed mostly by National Leadership Teams of local evangelical pastors and followers drawn from religious, government, and community organizations. With permission, and when culturally appropriate, a pamphlet about Christianity, written in the local language, is distributed alongside the boxes. In 2008, the program delivered 7.9 million boxes to children in 95 countries. Tens of thousands of volunteers process the boxes in Operation Christmas Child collection points and warehouses during the holiday season.



Now, I don't know about you, but if I was a kid, whether in a war torn or third world country, I'd be beside myself to get a box filled with all sorts of goodies.

The thought of the looks on those kids faces when they open up a Christmas wrapped shoe box fills me with happiness.


Yeah, I'm getting sappy. Shut it. I have my moments!


LOML and I put together 42 boxes last year. By ourselves. We donated half to our church and the other half to my aunt's church.


The good thing about this organization is that if you don't have the money for the shipping charges, they WILL find a way to get it so the boxes are delivered to the kids.


Since we did so well last year, we decided to up the ante so to speak and have made a personal goal of 60 boxes this year.


You heard that right. 60 boxes.


By ourselves.


A daunting task for sure.


But......we're up for the challenge.


However, we've run into a bit of a stumbling block.


We're lacking shoe boxes.


Apparently, no one wants to get rid of shoes boxes. Or they throw them away.


My one good dependable source has dried up and hasn't produced any boxes for a long time now.


I've talked to our local Payless and they rarely have any spare boxes. They did tell me they'd keep whatever they have on hold for me and while I appreciate that, the nearest Payless is 30 minutes away and we only go into town every two weeks or so. At some point, they may decide it's not worth it and get rid of them.


I've asked around but many people don't seem to be too interested in saving them OR they already donate them to one of the local churches that also participates.


The other stumbling block I've run into is soap.


I have run out of hotel sized soap to put in the boxes. I can get washcloths in bulk for a low price at Wal-Mart and Target, but affordable soap is something I haven't run across yet. In addition, hotel sized soaps are the PERFECT size for the stuffed shoes boxes that LOML and I send.


I collect all year long and have a good supply of toys, candy, pencils, notebooks, activity books, crayons, etc......


But hotel sized soap is one thing I'm lacking.


So, I'm asking all of you, if you are WILLING to part with your shoes boxes and/or hotel sized soaps, to please send them to me.


Now, with the exception of shipping costs, this costs you NOTHING. Nada, nil, zip, zilch, big fat goose egg.


I'm not asking you to go out and purchase soaps or buy shoes just for the sole purpose (no pun intended) of getting me a shoe box.......but, if you happen to have any spares on hand, I'll gladly take them from you.


Below are some pics of the supplies I have on hand:







These are all the stuffed animals I have. Now, before you start getting all impressed that this is what I spend my hard earned bucks on, don't. I actually paid no more than 25 cents for each stuffed animal. In some cases,I paid as little as a nickel. Most of those on the top are Easter bunnies. Wal-Mart was getting rid of their Easter items and had a massive sale on Sunday. I loaded up. I paid a total of $31 for over 40 bunnies PLUS some other items. With the exception of erasers, pencils and pencil sharpeners, I rarely pay full retail value for anything. I load up after Christmas, Valentine's and Easter.



I have ONE closet in my entire house. And half of it is dedicated to my supplies for the shoe boxes. HALF of my closet. Women, I know you're impressed that I selflessly gave up HALF my closet space for this charity. If that's not dedication, I don't know what is.





Here's the 8 completed boxes I have ready. By completed, I mean it's stuffed to the rim and wrapped in Christmas paper. I have about 12 more on stand by waiting to be wrapped.

So, if you are at all interested in helping, please drop me an e-mail at:

twodogsrunningsouth at yahoo dot com.

In addition, if you can find it in your heart to link up to this post, I'd appreciate it.



Thank you.

Later,

Mama Dawg



P.S. Here's a list of other items if you'd like to donate:

TOYS small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, etc.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

HYGIENE ITEMS toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.

OTHER Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans

12 really cool people who give a rat's patootie:

Bobby G

WOW! Thats impressive! I dont have any shoe boxes however, or soap, but I'll keep an eye out!

TattooedMinivanMom

You.Are.Awesomesauce.

We're actually funny about hotel soap. And other hotel products. We take as much as we can home and use it all up! So I am plum out of hotel soap.

I'm currently out of shoe boxes too. But I'll do my bestest to try and remember to save them.

It's me!!!....Mimi

Tisk, tisk, tisk... you have been holding out on me...How could you not tell me about this?!?!? What makes Mimi happier than buying clearance stuff for a good cause??ummmm,, let me think, except for hugs, kisses and I love you's from my boys... NOTHING!!..lol......
I will get to work on this Immediately!! You are going to have to give me more details on what you look for throughout the year so I can help you stock up..that way next year its 100 Boxes!!

Jaden Paige

I don't have any now either- if you would have asked just a month ago, I probably would have! We moved on April 1 and I got rid of all my extra boxes, toiletries, etc that we weren't using :(

BUT I will def keep my eye out and let you know if I find something! You are great :)

I can't believe you gave up your closet space... UHH, can we say- SELFLESS?!

Cocotte

We do the shoeboxes here, but only a couple. It is hard to find shoeboxes. I'm wondering if there are any boxes from a grocery store that would be around the same size?

Also, any hotels in your area that would be willing to donate soap? My dentist always donates toothbrushes/floss/toothpaste to our church for the boxes.

The Stiletto Mom

A while back, I gave a gag gift to one of my friends. It was a bag filled with hotel soaps and shampoos. I can check to see if he has any of it left...do you need shampoo too? Or just soap? Knowing that you are doing this, I'll start taking some when I travel and saving it up for you...what a wonderful thing you are doing!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher

I will send what I have. I think I have soem of those soaps you are looking for.

Captain Dumbass

You are all kinds of awesome, MD. I'll take a look around the cave.

gudnuff

Very impressive! Half a closet?! And the only closet you've got! You are an inspiration.

Rhea

I don't have soap (well, ok, we have some and use it, I promise, at least once a year...) but I do have shoe boxes. I'll send them to you.

Snooty Primadona

OMG! I have so many hotel soaps that it would blow your mind! They are yours if you want them. I also have some shoes I was getting ready to toss, so the boxes are your as well. Just send me an email w/ your address.

antiquesunderfoot@gmail.com

What a wonderful project! You and your LOML totally rock!

Mary

Our Sunday School does boxes and we use the plastic tote boxes (instead of she boxes)...I get them at the dollar store. I've also found them cheap at hard ware stores. I find cheap small soaps there as well.

Hope all is going well with you Em. I haven't commented in awhile.

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