Our Operation Christmas Child team grew from a team of one (two, including God – which makes for a mighty powerful mini-team) to a family team. How Yay! Company! And muscles! Then it expanded to a small group of creative, energetic friends!
Now we have an even bigger group! I think I’ll need a chart to keep up this year!
This summer, our church had a craft day where we made bookmarks and note cards. (More about that in a later post. 🙂 )
We will also be meeting this fall to pack shoeboxes together! How very, very exciting! And air conditioning, too!
By the time this post goes live (I write ahead), I won’t have this year’s pics for this post because I scheduled it to go live BEFORE we actually pack. Hmmm … that’s a dilemma. What was I thinking?
Planning for Packing
Oh! I was thinking of sharing tips on how we’ve done our family packing days so you can incorporate anything helpful into your packing days.
If I wait until our church packing day, your packing day may be over and that might not be very helpful until next year.
Man, that sure makes me (once again) want to look at God’s day timer planner.
How does He schedule everything that needs to be scheduled so far in advance in so many lives with so many variables?!
He’s good, I’ll tell ya.
Anyway … here’s my meager contribution to packing day wisdom:
When we packed as a family, early in the morning while I was doing last minute sorting, my husband would set up long, long, long homemade tables (wood planks on sawhorses).
The muscles of the family lifted and carried box after cardboard box to the tables. We were in a car accident a couple of years ago, so I had to depend much on every one else’s buffness. (Oh, it so good to be able to talk about it now.)
This year I’ve been in physical therapy so I’m curious how much more I can do. I imagine my family is welcoming my brawn this year, not just my organizational – commanding? – brains.
We used our outdoor picnic table as a paper station for labeling, rubber-banding and coloring book/photo/letter filling.
We finished where we started, which works for a small group of helpers.
Church Packing Plans
For our church packing party, I’m thinking we need two special tables: This is Where You Start and This is Where You End, along with long tables in between for the toys and goodies.
Set Up Different Tables for Each Step of the Packing Process
Here are the tables I recommend. I even made a pdf for you (based on one I made for me) to help you organize the tables.
Ask for Volunteers
I’m hoping to have volunteers at each table (hint, hint) to help answer questions and to guide packers to the next table. I know how confused I get on voting day with all those tables and lines to choose from. It’s always a comfort to have someone tell me where to go next – but not how to vote .
At the Welcome Table, the packers (my Wisconsin-born daddy would love that term) will fill out their labels, tape it on the box and begin the walk of filling.
Next stop is a table for paper stuff, like coloring books, photos, and notes. You’ll be seeing what our craft team made for notecards in a later post.
The WOW toy goes in next. You’ve heard the old adage: put the big rocks in first. Same goes for shoebox packing.
Next is the table of each-one-get-one, things like school supplies and hygiene items.
Then a table for the extras: small toys and cups and dolls and crocheted goodies and more.
The last table is for finishing up: rubber bands and $7 shipping donation reminders.
What to Bring to Packing Day
If you are wondering what to bring to packing day, my best advice is:
If you want to pack your own shoebox, bring everything that you feel should go into your boxes. You can find gift ideas all over, including here.
Communal Shoe Boxes
If you want to help build communal shoeboxes, I will say there is usually a need for more soap, more toothbrushes, more WOW toys and more donations for the $7 shipping.
Packing Party Info
If you are looking for more information about having a packing party, here are official tips – along with free promotional materials to order – from Samaritan’s Purse, an amazing ministry of many facets one of which is Operation Christmas Child.