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
Sunday 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!!