Week 2: Countdown to Packing Party

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It’s been another long, full week here at FLAC! Whew! We have been counting donated items as they are coming in and folding boxes to get a head start, while at the same time managing shipments and developing a core team. We are down to just one week until our packing party and we are so incredibly excited. Here’s what our week looked like:

Sunday, October 30: We built a diagram of what we thought we wanted the set up to look like at the packing party. We figured we would need 10 tables and packed a shoebox from beginning to end to figure out the order of items to pack the box most efficiently. Big items on bottom to smaller items on top. We also created a running To Do and a Need List to help us keep track of everything. This week we still need to:

  • Order toothpaste – we got a phenomenal deal with Hotel Supplies Online
  • Fold shoeboxes
  • Assemble cartons
  • Box soap – we purchased individual soap containers for all the soap
  • Fold hundreds of T-Shirts
  • Create a slideshow, pick out videos from Samaritan’s Purse, and Christmas movies for the Packing Party

uniformSunday also brought an incredible donation. A local Soccer Club donated 4 huge bins plus 2 plastic bags filled with soccer uniform items, all brand new and most of them still in their plastic wrapping. I so wish I could be there to see the looks on the kid’s faces when they open these boxes. A gorgeous soccer uniform? They are going to squeal. Such an incredible WOW item for these kids.

Monday, October 31: We met with our Pastors and core team to explain the process of the packing party. We set up the room of what we thought the assembly line should look like and came up with a plan. We ended up rearranging our items on a few tables due to storage issues. Since we are having a church service in the same area before our packing party, we have to be creative with the space we have available.

We also were not able to fit the 10 tables in the way we had hoped, so we did have to reconfigure that. This is the exact reason we do a mock run beforehand so that we can work out all these kinks early. Check out this link to see what each of our tables look like and the deals we found on many of the items we purchased.

In our meeting, we began to set up a core team of people to help us throughout the day. We needed:

  • A Transition Team to help move chairs, tables, and supplies.
  • An Audio/Visual Team to help us keep a running video going. We want people to have fun at the Party and not just feel like they are being put to work. So, we will have a slideshow giving information about Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child. We will also play videos from Samaritan’s Purse and have a Christmas movie or two snuck in there! I mean, we’ve got to have Merry Larry!
  • Hospitality Team to help provide and restock refreshments. We anticipate this will be a good 6-8 hour project and people will need to have a place to take a break.
  • Logistics Team to help unpack the cartons of empty shoeboxes and pack the cartons with filled shoeboxes.
  • Prayer Team to cover the whole event in prayer, while at the same time praying for the kids who will receive these shoebox gifts.
  • Kid’s Team to help occupy the littles who may get bored after the first hour. We will plan to have Christmas movies, snacks, cookie decorating, and games planned for them to also be able to have an outlet of their wiggle energy.
  • Floating Team to help keep everything running smoothly. We felt it was important that the Pastors, along with my husband and I did not have a specific job to do on Packing Day so that we could help where needed, answer questions, and be available to put out fires.

Along with a fantastic planning meeting, we also counted and folded all of the soccer jerseys that were donated. The Cahaba Springs Soccer Club donated 702 clothing items. What an incredible gift. Again, I wish I could be there to see the excitement on the kid’s faces, as these shoeboxes will be going to countries where “soccer” is so popular.

Tuesday, November 1: We are continuing to assemble our Core Team for the Packing Party and continuing to fold shoeboxes. Today, we also decided to pack a few shoeboxes. We realized that we had some unusually sized items that would fit in a shoebox, but may not work really well on the assembly line. We also found that we had about 40 soccer uniforms that were for much smaller kids than we were planning to pack for. Our goal has been to pack boxes for the 10-14 year old range, but these uniforms would fit the 5-9 age range.

Filling these shoeboxes became two-fold, as we were trying to figure out how to get 23 shoeboxes into the cartons. I’ve seen them fit, but I just could not get it to work. I finally pulled up a diagram on The Google and still had a difficult time making it work. I finally got it, but I still think I am missing something, as it was not an easy fit. I’ll need to figure that out for the Logistics Team.

We’ve still got so much to do… but, we are SO excited!!


Week 3: Countdown to Packing Party

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OCC logoOur 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.

collectionMonday, 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.

labelsFriday, 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.

hatching-hopeSaturday, 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.

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What a week!! We still have 2 weeks to go friends, so please keep praying!!!


Every Shoebox Gift Matters

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11 Days, 6 Cities, 6 planes, 400 miles driven, 1,294 Shoeboxes Packed, 5 TV interviews, 4 events, amazing new friends, and countless memories… this has been our world for the last week and a half.

Jordyn and I had the incredible privilege to travel with Samaritan’s Purse for her to speak as a Kid Ambassador at 4 different events with Franklin Graham. We were so honored and humbled to be a part of such an incredible tour.

In our final count, Jordyn surpassed her personal goal and filled 1,320 shoebox gifts. Our Youth Challenge goal of 5,000 shoebox gifts was also surpassed, with a total of 5,161 shoebox gifts collected.

Thank you Samaritan’s Purse for your incredible Operation Christmas Child ministry. I love that we were able to see behind-the-scenes and are even more impressed and more excited about all you are doing to serve children in need all over the world.

Here are some of our favorite memories from this trip:

DSC_3733 DSC_3715DSC_3649 DSC_3685 Jordyn Truck Jordyn Folding DSC_3657 DSC_3647 DSC_3646

 

 

 


We Pack, You Ship

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p33_operationchristmaschild_JordynMcNeal-420x280When Jordyn set out to fill 1,000 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and to make an effort to have another 4,000 shoeboxes filled via her Youth Challenge, we did not anticipate the response. We have been overwhelmed (in a good way) with all the love Samaritan’s Purse has for children all over the world. This year we have been allowed to peek behind the scenes a bit, meet some new friends who work at Samaritan’s Purse, and will soon be traveling with Samaritan’s Purse for Jordyn to speak at some Operation Christmas Child events. We are in awe of what God is doing and how He is leading the charge.

God has been providing abundantly and beyond our dreams by way of donations. We have been partnering with a local Discount Warehouse who has been so gracious in their pricing for us to maximize every single cent being donated for this Love Project. Their generosity is filling these boxes. We also have churches who have supported this endeavor, along with local dentist offices (toothbrushes and toothpaste), restaurants (kid cups), hotels (bars of soap), local businesses donating school supplies, and friends helping to make loom bracelets, one for each shoebox gift.
DSC_3560IMG_2438

 

 

 

 

Jordyn’s original goal was to make 1,000 shoebox gifts. Well, because of the awesomeness of people (did you see our family room before some of our items were organized?), we are trusting God to fill 1,200 boxes at our Packing Party. This is where we would love for YOU to come alongside us! With the increase in numbers, we would still love to supply Samaritan’s Purse with the $7 donation per shoebox to cover shipping expenses and a 12 week Bible Study in the language of the child who receives the gift.

We are looking for friends to come alongside us and donate $7.00 to Samaritan’s Purse website via this link to track your shoebox. A special label will be emailed to you to track the shoebox gift we will make to the country where it will be given to a little girl or boy. Then, we will need you to email us your special label at love@faithlikeachild.org. We will print off your label and attach it to one of the shoeboxes we make. When the shoebox arrives in it’s country YOU will receive an email that the shoebox gift was received, with additional information on the country where the gift was given.

We appreciate ALL God is doing and pray that He will use these shoebox gifts to, as Jordyn would say, “glue smiles on the kid’s faces!”

If you will partner with us in this endeavor, please go HERE to donate directly to Samaritan’s Purse. Then, be sure to email us your tracking label! Thanks so much friends!


#BestFriendBox

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LiberiaWe have heard from a lot of people that they would love to pack a shoebox gift for Operation Christmas Child, but their church is not participating in this program and they do not know what to do. Friends, if you are in this boat, we have a solution for you, and would love for you to join us!

In addition to the Youth Group Challenge, Jordyn is also packing her own shoeboxes and we’d love to invite you to create a Best Friend Box following these 6 steps:

  1. Find a standard size shoebox or plastic box with lid. If you wrap the shoebox, please wrap the box and lid separately.
  2. Choose whether you will pack the box for a boy or girl and their age group.
  3. Print off Label below and tape to the lid of your box.
  4. Fill the shoebox with gifts (see our list of 100 items to put into a shoebox gift).
  5. Include a $7 donation per shoebox to help cover shipping costs. If you do this donation online, you can even track your box with a special label and will receive an email when your gift arrives at it’s destination.
  6. Drop it off at one of the OCC Hubs nearest you. Check out this link to find a drop off location nearest you!

GirlBoy_Label

You can also check out this link for more detailed information of how to pack your own Shoebox Gift.

If you plan to participate in this #BestFriendBox Program, we’d love to hear from you on our Facebook Page. Drop us a note and let us know where you are from and how many boxes you are packing! Then, after your shoebox is packed, please post a picture of you and your gifts to our page, Faith Like a Child, Inc with the hashtag #BestFriendBox. We’d love to be able to track where the Best Friend Boxes are coming from!

What would you pack in this box for your best friend?


Jordyn’s Shoebox Guessing Game Challenge

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Hi friends,

There are so many great things you can put in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite ideas. For the next 30 Days, I will be taking a closeup picture of an item you can put in a box. I want you to try and guess what it is. Maybe if you can’t figure it out, ask your kids to help you.

Here is the first one. What do you think it is?

JSC Day1

Please join me on my Facebook Page to play this game with me. I will be packing four very special boxes this year and will choose one person who takes a guess on my Facebook page each week to be a part of these special boxes. I will pack the box in their honor and will add a special tracking label to the box where the winners will receive an email of where their box went to after it has been delivered. The first winner will be announced on October 9th.


How to Pack a Girl’s OCC Shoebox

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Hi friends, this is Jordyn. Here is my top 10 list for packing a great shoebox for a girl for Operation Christmas Child.

Jordyn's Top 10 Girl

  1. A cuddly toy – I really like cuddly toys, so I think a girl would like this too.
  2. Toothbrush – I think a toothbrush is good because it will help keep their teeth clean.
  3. Toothpaste – I think toothpaste is also good for the same reason.
  4. Hairbrush/Comb – I would add a hairbrush or comb to help them keep their hair untangled.
  5. Soap – I think soap is important to help them get clean when they take a shower.
  6. Bracelet – This is one of my favorites. I would add a bracelet to remind them that people care about them.
  7. Notebook – I think a notebook would be good so they could write down some stuff they are thinking about.
  8. Pens or Pencils – Pens and pencils will help them write and draw.
  9. A T-Shirt – I would want to make sure they have something new and clean to wear.
  10. A Handwritten Note – I think a note would mean a lot to them and help them know Jesus loves them.

Remember, after you have filled your shoebox to print one of these labels out. Cut it down to size and check the correct box so that OCC knows who the gift is for.

GirlBoy_Label

Jordyn is hoping to encourage kids all over the country to pack a shoebox. If you are interested in more info, check out Jordyn’s Youth Challenge for Operation Christmas Child!