Since that blog post (of what one person thinks you should and shouldn't send) is making the rounds AGAIN, I thought I might share my thoughts on her list...as someone who received a shoebox in 1995, helped distribute shoeboxes to Romanian orphans in 2005, and is now packing shoeboxes with my children to send!! My story is here.
I agree with pretty much all her BEST list, though I would not be overly concerned if there is something on the tee. However, unless you got some REALLY great deals on clearance clothes it is actually better to go with plain. If you go with a design, and you have a choice...I would go with the more generic words/pictures over a licensed character, for sure. On my part, I just get plain colored tees from JoAnns (they sell them for decorating)...usually about $3/each. These are in gorgeous colors and a good quality. I generally try to not go too big, but to still get shirts that will fit the larger sizes on each boxes age range, as small kids can wear too big shirts, but bigger kids cannot so easily wear too-small shirts!! Just don't send XXL tees to a four year old and you should be good!!
I agree with most of her GREAT list...though I will say from experience that bandaids (especially the pretty ones with pictures/characters) will NOT be used as actual bandaids (though they WERE considered quite the fashion statement the week at summer camp that they were stolen out of my tent and handed around...lol)!! I would also skip the candy and gum. There are sweets in every country in the world, some kids might not know that gum is not for swallowing, and even hard candy can melt and mess up other stuff in extreme temps. Not sure if a solar calculator is always a good thing either, cause depending on the country and school they might not be allowed. I put in sunglasses for ALL the kids and they are always a hit every time I have seen them given out (whether in shoeboxes, at summer camps, or VBS). Socks and underwear are always great...and I try to put in stuff geared to fit someone towards the higher end of the age range, so as to give the kids maximum use of the clothes. I also would not concern myself with whether a car has bigger tires or not. You can fit more matchbox sized cars into a box than the bigger ones and I have seen both my own son playing with his matchbox cars in the sandbox as well as kids in other countries playing with cars with NO wheels in the dirt!! The important thing is the car, not the wheels!!
I could say a lot about her NOT AS GOOD list. I agree with her on the temporary tattoos and anything that needs instructions. I also wouldn't send playdoh, not because kids might not know what to do with it (and in some places they might not)...but because it is a heavy-ish space waster that dries out quickly. I will STRONGLY disagree with her on the stuffed animals and the winter hats and gloves though!! Every kid needs something to hug!! I have NEVER seen a kid scared of a stuffed animal or upset to receive one...rather that was one of their favorite things to receive!! It must be a rather regional/cultural thing where the blogger is working...but I would really encourage people to continue to send stuffed animals in their boxes. Even teens have been known to sit and hug a teddy bear before going on to explore the rest of their boxes...and then said teddies get places of honor on their beds in the orphanage/group home!! Her point about the stuffed animals is more something she should bring up to the regional OCC people to ensure they receive boxes that might not have those. As far as the winter hats and gloves...I have seen a child squeal more over warm gloves than over a matchbox car or markers!! I will always include them if I can. You never know but what a child in a cold country might need flip flops to wear in a yucky orphanage shower...or that a child in a hot country gets chilly at night and a warm hat makes a difference. But God knows...and he will direct things where they need to go.
Anyway, that is just my thoughts on the blog post...take of it what you will!!
The little child off-camera yelling at the end over and over again? Yeah...she's super excited that she got gloves!! So if you feel the Lord leading you to put gloves/mittens in your boxes...go for it!!
What went into our shoeboxes last year:
|GIRLS: Age 2-4 on top row, age 5-9 on bottom left, and age 10-14 on bottom right.|
|BOYS: Age 2-4 on top row, age 5-9 on bottom left, and age 10-14 on bottom right.|
Pictures from delivering OCC boxes to orphans in Romania in 2005: