Our Operation Christmas Child Packing Party is set for November 13th where we will attempt to pack 2,000 shoebox gifts. Every single shoebox gift is an opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with a child in need. As the hustle and bustle of these last 3 weeks come to a head, we thought it would be great to share with you where we are finding deals, and what the countdown actually looks like.
For the last 5 months, we have been collecting items monthly at our church. We collected about 300 items to include notebooks, washcloths, toys, school supplies, and T-Shirts. At the same time, we were working with local businesses to see about donations or low-cost merchandise, and raising money by way of securing monthly donors to help us purchase supplies for our packing party. We also had a local business that worked with us last year who would help us purchase items in bulk at a low cost. As far as we could tell, we were very well set for this year’s packing party and everything was on schedule. But, of course, that’s not always how things turn out. So, here’s what’s really happening…
Sunday, October 23rd – Go over to the church building and set up a plan of how to organize the tables for the Packing Party.
Monday, October 24th – Our collection has been growing over the last few months, so we had to re-organize the space. We start putting the word out to local churches and friends to see if they can donate any unused event T-Shirts that are collecting dust in a closet. And, we find out the local business that we were planning to purchase about 10,000 items from is no longer able to help us purchase these items this year.
For the last 5 months, we had purposely not collected any items we knew we could get through this wholesaler. So, with 2.5 weeks before our Packing Party, it would have been very easy to panic. However, our immediate response to this news was simply to pray. “Alright God, this is no surprise to you. We need you to provide.” Admittedly, this is not always the case… or even, most often the case. But, this time, we got it right. We were completely powerless and simply needed to put our faith in God to provide.
Tuesday, October 25th – First thing in the morning, we choose to trust that God would provide all of our needs one day at a time. It should be no surprise that with this Love Project, from the very beginning, the following verse came to mind, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Determined to keep working on finding more supplies, we went to The Google. Immediately, we found an online wholesale business called H&J Closeouts that offered free shipping. I called the company, end up talking to the owner and asked if he’d ever heard of Operation Christmas Child. He chuckled and said, “Yes! In fact, today I have just released a 20% coupon for anyone purchasing items to fill shoeboxes.” WHAT??? I shared what we were doing and he spent the next 1.5 hours with me on the phone, drastically reducing the already low prices on his website AND still giving us free shipping.
Wednesday, October 26th – One day at a time, God will provide! 2,000 toothbrushes and 2,000 combs were delivered to our doorstep last night. We also received and folded 53 T-Shirts from a friend to help towards our clothing goal.
Thursday, October 27th – Continue working with H&J Closeouts and finalize our bulk order. We now have the rest of the notebooks we needed, all the pencils, 2,000 toys, 2,000 craft supplies, 1,000 hats, and 2,000 plastic containers for the soap. We were given an unbelievable discount on these items and we are so grateful. We also received news today that our shipment of 4,000 bars of soap has been cancelled by a different retailer. We had been waiting for this shipment for a week, so it was frustrating to learn that it had been cancelled.
Friday, October 28th – Contact the company where we purchased the soap and found out there was a huge miscommunication. They were sending emails to an account we have not checked in a good year, so we were not receiving their need for more information for the shipment. We re-ordered the soap, gave them the info they needed, and the order was processed. Today, God also provided 2,000 shoeboxes, 87 cartons, and 2,000 labels from Samaritan’s Purse.
Saturday, October 29th – We decide for the very first time to locate some garage sales to see if they had new or nearly new T-Shirts we could purchase. We found a “Charity Garage Sale” and WE were the ones blessed. We met a precious family that experienced a house fire a few years ago and lost everything they had. This led 12-year old Ashton and his mom to start a foundation called Hatching Hope to help other families displaced by fire or other disaster. What an incredible ministry!
Today, they were having a huge sale to raise money to make more care kits. They fill these kits with pillows, towels, toiletries, air mattresses, and so much more. When we showed up, Jordyn shared what she was doing for Operation Christmas Child and simply asked if they had T-Shirts we could look through. Not only did they have T-Shirts, but they told us they would DONATE any item we could use in the shoebox gifts. In fact, we were told to take everything we needed and not to hold back at all! What an incredible gift! Because of their generosity, were able to add 164 clothing items (most brand new) and 45 extra items like cups, stuffed animals, and toys to our collection.
What a week!! We still have 2 weeks to go friends, so please keep praying!!!