After months of brainstorming, planning, designing, creating and assembling, the 2017 Operation Christmas Child displays we were asked to design for the information tables at church were finally done! Each display featured an official Samaritan’s Purse shipping carton in the middle, filled with shoeboxes, and a globe with John 3:16 on it. “Falling” into the carton on the left side were two shoeboxes with Follow Your Box labels, the phrase “What You Put In…” and OCC-style stars featuring ideas of things to put in your shoebox such as: School Supplies, Small Toys, Letter or Card, Hygiene Items, $9 Shipping, Prayer and a Photo of You! Under the carton flap on the left side is a stack of shoeboxes with one open as an example of how to pack a shoebox. Coming out of the carton on the right side were two shoeboxes with Samaritan’s Purse tape and The Greatest Journey booklet, the phrase “Has An Eternal Impact!” and stars featuring the impact each shoebox has including: Disciples Made, Indescribable Joy, Lives Changed, Shows God’s Love, Churches Planted, Learn About Jesus and Needs Met. Under the right flap of the carton is a stack of shoeboxes providing a base for a collection of photos showing shoebox transportation methods and kids holding their shoebox. Last of all, in the middle of the table in front of the carton is a collection of valuable information including brochures, Boy/Girl labels, stickers, “About Me” coloring pages, Special Report magazines, an Inappropriate Item list and shopping guide filled with great ideas for items to include in your shoebox. It was an “all-hands-on-deck” project to bring these displays from idea to reality, but they turned out amazing! We used everything from common supplies like paper, glue, tape and scissors to tissue paper, bouquet card holders, photo holders and even created custom parts using a 3-D printer!’
National Collection Week 2016 was one to remember! We volunteered over 80 hours at the local Collection Center during the week and helped get 18,965 shoeboxes from the donor’s hands to the trail bound for the Processing Center. Take a look at the photos below for a behind-the-scenes look at the Collection Center!
From start to finish, it was so much fun to create these 23 precious shoeboxes using the profits from our Shoebox Packing Party product sales. Follow the journey of these 23 simple gifts from our hands to the 23 sweet children in Honduras who God chose to receive these particular shoeboxes in the photo collection below! If you’d like to see what’s inside each of our shoeboxes, click here.
which is where ItsMadeCreatively’s 23 shoeboxes went in 2016!
ItsMadeCreatively’s own mascot, little Beasley was spotted at the local Collection Center for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes during National Collection Week!
First, she posed in front of the giant map on the wall that shows which countries have received shoeboxes from the Dallas/Fort Worth Processing Center over the past 3 years. It’s a pretty awesome sight to see!
Next, she held her own mini shoebox while sitting on and surrounded by thousands of shoeboxes that had already been dropped off at the Collection Center!
Then she took a closer look at the Collection Center’s Christmas tree, which was decorated with “OCC” letter ornaments, ItsMadeCreatively’s shoebox plane ornaments and many photos of children receiving Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Our favorite photo is the one showing a group of elephants transporting cartons of shoeboxes to a remote village!
Trading cards, medals, daily steps, number of visits to each U.S. state… we all seem to count, track or collect something. Most of you probably share your accomplishments with friends and family on social media which got us thinking… wouldn’t it be neat to be able to share your Operation Christmas Child accomplishments with fellow OCC fans? Suddenly, the idea of a Shoebox Patch was born! Meticulously designed to look like a real embroidered patch, each patch features stitched lettering and graphics using a process never-before-seen at ItsMadeCreatively and took hours to fine-tune. As the number of Shoebox Patches continues to grow, we find ourselves imagining what it would be like to iron them on a vest or sash! So if you are looking for a fun way to keep track of your Operation Christmas Child accomplishments, then start pinning these ItsMadeCreatively-exclusive Shoebox Patches to your Pinterest boards!
Shoebox Patches – Miscellaneous
Pin these Shoebox Patches if you’re a Year-Round Volunteer, have held a shoebox packing party and more!
Shoebox Patches – I Gave Shoeboxes!
How many Operation Christmas Child shoebox did you pack this year? Pin the appropriate patch to share the news among your friends and family!
Shoebox Patches – Giving Shoeboxes Since…
Whether you’re a pro at packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes or have only recently begun donating shoebox gifts, pin the Shoebox Patch for the appropriate year in which you began giving shoeboxes!
Shoebox Patches – Processing Centers
If you’ve had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at an Operation Christmas Child Processing Center, then pin the Shoebox Patch for the appropriate location!
We have received several requests from customers for a shoebox-themed “thank you gift” over the past year and today, are happy to announce the release of a product to fulfill that request! Drum roll please… Introducing, the Shoebox Shirt Favor Box! This t-shirt-shaped favor box comes in three styles:
- Box design – A white t-shirt with red collar and green sleeve cuffs featuring “2016 Good News Great Joy” on the front. (Note: the year will change to reflect the current year)
- Stamp design – A white t-shirt with black collar and black sleeve cuffs featuring a stamp-style design that reads “Thanks for your help” on the front
- Tree design – A white t-shirt with green collar and red sleeve cuffs featuring “Sharing the Good News and bringing Great Joy” on the front.
Whether you need a gift to thank the volunteers at your shoebox event or simply to hand out to guests at your Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing party, these adorable shirt favor boxes will do the trick. They are easy to assemble too!
Don’t forget… All profits from this product will be used to create/pack/ship Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!
Help spread Good News and Great Joy in 2016 by making shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child!
If you are an Operation Christmas Child Collection Center Co-ordinator, you have to remember countless numbers, names, dates and stats. What were the destination countries for your center in 2013? When Aunt Sue drops off shoeboxes from her packing party and asks how many she gave last year – will you remember? Why can’t you remember the name of the contact person for your newest Relay Center? To help you remember all of those important details, we designed this handy Collection Center Journal. Easily find stats and notes using the provided 5 tab dividers and 52 journal pages that were designed to help you record the vast amount of information that Collection Week brings (more on that below). While NOT meant to replace official Collection Center logs/reports/forms, this journal is a great way to record memories and notes for your personal use!
The journal is easy to assemble too! Simply print as many pages as you need/want, cut them out and bind together.
For our example journal, we laminated the cover pages and all 5 tab dividers. Then we purchased 2 clear check-size poly envelopes at the office supply store and some 18 gauge silver craft wire. We cut off both ends of the poly envelopes, hole-punched the pages, tabs and envelopes and then sliced the bottom edge of one poly envelope into two pieces. After wrapping the craft wire around a wooden dowel rod to form a spiral, we threaded it through the holes to bind the pages and envelopes together. Now our journal is protected from rain and random beverage spills with a velcro-secured cover!
For the second poly envelope, we trimmed the ends to match the size of the journal pages and had placed it between the last page and the envelope cover. With a needle and red embroidery thread, we stitched both sides of the envelope to form an enclosed pouch. It’s perfect for holding business cards, Post-It notes, paperclips, small pens or pencils and more!
Using green embroidery thread, we stitched the leftover poly envelope pieces to the back cover to form two pouches to hold items that we might need quick access to!
Needless to say, we can’t wait for National Collection Week to begin! We hope you find this journal helpful and remember, all profits from its sales go to shipping shoeboxes! Click here to purchase it!
Here’s a list of the pages included in the Collection Center Journal:
- 1 Front Cover and 1 Back Cover
- 1 Collection Center Info tab
- 1 Collection Center page
- 1 Processing Center page
- 2 Things to Remember pages
- 4 Trailer pages
- 4 Year Total pages
- 1 Daily Totals tab
- 2 Monday pages
- 1 Tuesday page
- 1 Wednesday page
- 1 Thursday page
- 1 Friday page
- 1 Saturday page
- 1 Sunday page
- 1 Relay Centers tab
- 4 Relay Center pages
- 4 Gifts-In-Kind pages
- 1 Shoebox Donors tab
- 4 Shoebox Donor pages
- 4 Gifts-In-Kind pages
- 1 Notes tab
- 8 Blank lined pages
- 8 Blank pages
At last, the week we had waited for all year long had arrived – Operation Christmas Child‘s National Collection Week! Hands down, this is our favorite time of the year. Being co-coordinator at church for the area’s Collection Center makes for a busy week of shoeboxes and volunteers. Here’s a recap of the week…
A few days before Halloween, Collection Week preparations began as we hung Operation Christmas Child collection date posters throughout our church and set up the information table. Our shoebox thermometer goal was set and the giant shoebox we made was the highlight of the display!
Next, we set up the Collection Center at church. This year, we were given a new portable building to use for the week! It was much bigger than last year’s location and featured more parking for the trailers, volunteers and people dropping off shoeboxes. The extra space was such a blessing!
One of the new items included in our Collection Center supplies from Samaritan’s Purse was this cool Drop-Off Location flag! Despite crazy winds and heavy rains we experienced during Collection Week, the flag lasted through it all.
While setting up the tables and decorations in the Collection Center, a reporter from a local college tv station stopped by to interview us. we were so nervous! She was writing a story about Operation Christmas Child and was very excited to learn more about this amazing ministry.
Next, we took a look at the new banner that was made to post by the road and direct traffic to our new location. The print shop did a wonderful job and even added a border and faint snowflakes to the banner. It was beautiful! We added this year’s Collection Week dates to the bottom of the banner and got it ready to be staked at the road.
The welcome table was the next area we set up. Just like our location last year, the Christmas tree was too tall to fit in the room so we decorated it and put a Santa hat on top then decorated the top of the tree and set it on the snack table! Not a single person noticed that our tree was missing its top!
On the Sunday before Collection Week, we took the 18 shoeboxes that were created with the profits from sales of our Packing Party Products this year to the Collection Center. It was an exciting moment to load them onto the wagon and cart them inside! Each box has a Follow Your Box label and we’re looking forward to receiving an email from Samaritan’s Purse with the name of the country they went to! Thank you to everyone who purchased those products and helped change the lives of 18 sweet children!
By Monday, the first day of Collection Week, we had over a thousand shoeboxes lining the walls and covering the floor! See those white plastic shoeboxes in the corner of the room? All of those were created by one lady over the course of the year! There are 600 shoeboxes! What an amazing lady.
We had to take pieces of extra cardboard to make temporary walls to separate the piles of shoeboxes that various groups and churches that came by to drop off. There were more shoeboxes in the building than we knew what to do with and we were running out of room – fast! It was simply amazing to look around and imagine the children who would receive each of these boxes specifically packed for them! Wow.
In the back of the room, we had an area for volunteers to fill shoeboxes using items that were donated to the Collection Center throughout the year. Our goal was to create 200 shoeboxes but by the end of the week, we had created over 250 shoeboxes! These volunteers wrapped each shoebox in colorful Christmas paper so that the next shift of volunteers could fill them. They sure had talent!
By the end of the first day, there were over 110 cartons of shoeboxes ready to be loaded onto the first trailer! There are nearly 2,000 shoeboxes in the cartons in this photo! Each day there were 4 shifts of 6-10 volunteers that lasted 2 to 2.5 hours per shift. The last shift of the day featured the trailer loading team with some strong guys to help get all these cartons onto the trailer! They sure got a workout on Monday!
A storm system moved through during the first two days of Collection Week and brought quite a lot of rain. The parking lot was flooded! We hurried to sweep nearly 4 inches water from the parking lot into the ditches before people arrived to drop off shoeboxes. When the handle of the broom we were using broke, we had to resort to using packing tape-covered cardboard to push water out of the parking lot. Phew, it was hard work!
Each shift of volunteers helped with several different tasks from packing shoeboxes into cartons, filling shoeboxes, welcoming visitors and loading the trailer. Did you know that 15 plastic shoeboxes can fit in a carton? Meanwhile, 23 G.O. boxes (the red and green shoeboxes) can fit in a carton! Gotta love those red and green shoeboxes…
Wednesday featured one of our team member’s birthday! What better way to spend the day than at the Collection Center surrounded by shoeboxes? It was a great birthday!
By Thursday, the first trailer was full of 350 cartons and ready to be picked up by the trucking company and sent down to the Processing Center! We gathered around the trailer before locking the door and prayed over the shoeboxes inside.
Moments after locking the first trailer, one of our relay centers arrived with a U-Haul full of cartons! We had them back up to the second trailer and began moving the boxes over. They filled almost half of the trailer with over 140 cartons! When relay centers arrive with a large load of cartons, things can get a little crazy!
One of the most-popular spots in the Collection Center was near our map on the wall. Volunteers and shoebox donors alike loved to stop and gather around for a look and even take a photo on their phones. The map showed the locations of the countries our area’s Processing center are sending boxes to. See our Shoebox Packing Party Banner hanging below it on the wall?
This year, the shoeboxes collected in our area will be sent to: Panama, Ukraine, Ecuador and Madagascar. We’ll find out in a few weeks where our shoeboxes created with the profits from our Packing Party profits went to! As soon as we find out, we’ll post the news!
This is the view of the inside of the second trailer on Friday night. There are 209 cartons on the trailer with room for only 141 more! Excitement was mounting as we tried to guesstimate how many shoeboxes we’d collect by the end of the week. Would we top last year’s amount of 16,135 shoeboxes?
By the afternoon on Sunday, we had filled the second trailer and started loading cartons onto the third! We began guessing how many more shoeboxes we were expecting to receive and whether or not we would need to order a fourth trailer in the morning. By the afternoon on Monday, we made the call and asked for a fourth trailer to be sent over! It arrived as we were packing up the Collection Center and putting everything away.
After being at the Collection Center from 8:30 am until 7 pm or later every day for 8 days, we can honestly say it is the most-rewarding, fun-filled, exciting week of the year. We love interacting with the hundreds of volunteers and shoebox donors that visit the Collection Center. Yes, it has some stressful moments, but you get to meet some amazing people who have a passion for this ministry. What was our final shoebox count, you ask? 18,182! Think about that… 18,182 shoeboxes passed through our Collection Center’s doors, on their way to 18,182 children whose lives will be forever changed with the simple gift of a shoebox. Each child will receive the good news of Jesus Christ and a shoebox that was packed especially for them, guided by God from the person who filled it all the way into their little hands. If you have never filled a shoebox, please consider doing so and touching a child’s heart that is a world away. For those of you who already fill shoeboxes, here is a catchy quote for you – pack one more than you’ve packed before!
Let the countdown to Collection Week 2016 begin!