We support Samaritan's Purse with the Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive every year, and this year was no exception. Because Things 1 and 2 are 9 and 6, we chose to make one shoebox for a 5-9-year-old boy for each of them, and because I read that the older boys are underrepresented in the donated boxes, we also made two shoeboxes for 10-14-year-old boys.
I'm listing what we put into our shoeboxes, even though I don't have pictures of the finished boxes, because I want to have a record of ideas for next year. Well, and also because I got a lot of good ideas from other blogs, and I want to return the favor for anyone looking for ideas!
5-9 year old: hygiene items (toothpaste, 2 toothbrushes, comb, bar of soap in a terrycloth pouch), clothing items (drawstring pants, socks, stretchy hat, stretchy gloves), toys (2 Hot Wheels cars, 25 marbles in a fleece drawstring pouch, small yoyo), school supplies (4 regular pencils in a fleece drawstring pouch, 1 dozen colored pencils, mini notepad, small sketchbook, eraser, 2 manual pencil sharpeners), and a flashlight with 3 sets of batteries.
10-14 year old: the same hygiene and clothing items, toys (25 marbles in a fleece drawstring pouch, small yoyo, small slinky), school supplies (4 regular pencils in a fleece drawstring pouch, 1 dozen colored pencils, small sketchbook, large notebook, eraser, 2 manual pencil sharpeners), and a flashlight with 3 sets of batteries.
The drawstring pants were all made using thrifted striped sheets. I look for sheets in good condition - figure they've been washed repeatedly and held up well, and they're soft. The smaller pairs are KS3042 size M - that should cover all the sizes in the 5-9 age range, with rolled up legs; and the larger pairs are B6887 size M.
We used the cardboard box from Samaritan's Purse for the 2 younger boys' boxes, but we bought Sterlite clear plastic shoeboxes for the older boys' boxes. I saw a blog posting that suggested doing this, as then the boxes could also be used to carry water for the families afterward. I'll be doing that again next year. (I found the plastic boxes at Target for under $2 each.) And another idea I saw, but didn't have time to implement, was to include a lightweight tote bag or drawstring back pack big enough to carry the shoebox, as many children have to walk a great distance to get their shoeboxes. I'll try to get that done next year. Bags made from broadcloth and lined in muslin are usually lightweight and easily compressed into a small space, but they are fairly sturdy.
This year we paid our shipping online and were able to get tracking labels. I just heard from the organization - our boxes have been sent to Suriname!