Sunday 24 March 2013

Operation Christmas Child: It's Never too Early...

Since travelling with Operation Christmas Child in December last year the charity has never been far from my mind. It has just become my norm (and that of my children) to be on the lookout for gift items that can go in shoe boxes. I love it that people see me and think shoebox gifts, recently a friend was moving and there were a few times I turned up at her house and she gave me things she had thought would suit the shoe boxes. What makes this even more precious is that she has so little herself.

This afternoon I went to do a presentation about my Belarus trip, to the local warehouse volunteers and it was great to see all these people who are so committed to helping children enjoy a gift-filled box at Christmas time.

It reminded me that I wanted to share some great finds with you and to remind you that it is never too early to start collecting to fill a shoebox or two. I often hear from people who tell me it is too expensive to make up a shoebox and I do beg to differ. For the majority of people spending £10 over the course of a year to fill a box with gifts and love is achievable.

Here are some really nice items I have picked up for bargain prices in the last couple of weeks. The Entertainer toy shops have been very good and I managed to buy some beautiful Pride of Britain lions leftover from Olympic memorabilia sales, these plush toys cost me just £1 and there were smaller ones for 50p each too.

Then also from the Entertainer, I picked up these Lego-style sets for just £1 each.  Just think how much a  child abroad will love and cherish this toy.

Then the last thing I picked up this week was a pack of 3 erasers from Tesco for just 25p per pack.

On all these things you see here I have spent £6 and what else could I have spent that money on? A couple of cappuccinos or part entry to the cinema? Or maybe a couple of greetings cards or soft play entrance for one of my kids?

All these simple gifts make me so much happier than going out and doing any of those things. I go to bed tonight knowing my £6 was well spent and that my shoe boxes are already starting to fill up ready for collection in November.

Have you spotted any good bargains yet?

Do share with me, as I'm always keen to keep topping up and even if they do not make it into the 4 boxes that our family makes I like to help make up boxes at school or  I can donate them to the local warehouse where I was today.

Thanks to all involved, your boxes really make a difference. Just look at these 25 happy recipients from Belarus last year.

All images by Jonty Wilde

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