This Reader & Her Daughter Are Bringing Hope to Children in Need

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shoe boxes filled with toys and children's necessities

Get in the giving spirit of Christmas!

It’s that time of year when kids start getting excited to receive gifts from Santa and their loved ones, however, the sad truth is that not all children are fortunate enough to get presents or even basic necessities, especially this year when so many families have taken a major financial hit due to the pandemic.

The bright side is that there are things we can do to give these children hope and put smiles on their faces during this tough time. ❤️

Hip2Save reader, Bethany, is involved with a wonderful organization that helps children not only get toys but many other things they may be in need of as well. Check out her story…

toys and children's necessities spread out on the floor

Every year we like to send boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We were unable to send them last year. My eleven-year-old daughter was so disappointed she made it her mission to save up some money and put together her own boxes.

She watched for clearance deals and posts on Hip2save for items she could add to her boxes. She put together four nice boxes to send. Next week, November 16th-23rd is national drop-off week. We will be dropping hers off and hope lots of other people will be dropping boxes off too!

Christmas bins stacked on each other

Operation Christmas Child collects shoebox gifts‑filled with fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items—and delivers them to children in need around the world to demonstrate love.

Thank you, Bethany, for sharing this thoughtful idea. What a fantastic way to help out children who are in need, and how proud of your daughter you must be for saving up her own money to help out. She is truly an inspiration. It’s also a great reminder that you don’t need to have a ton of money to help out. By watching for sales and stocking the gift closet, it is possible to make a difference.

Looking for more ways to give? Head on over here!


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique tip to share?! Fill out our Happy Friday form. Every Friday, we post one submission by a Hip2Save reader (view past submissions) that gives us a glimpse into their frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If yours is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon eGift card!

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About the writer:

Jessica holds a Business Degree and 10 years of writing experience from various deal sites including Hip2Save. Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn

Join The Discussion

Comments 26

  1. kucaschu

    We love this project! Thanks, Hip2Save, for highlighting it and for all the deals you help us get so we can afford to do things like this!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re very welcome! 💖

  2. Erin

    I love Operation Christmas Child. Your website helps me find deals so I can make even more boxes to impact even more children. Grateful for y’all!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Aww, thanks so much for your kind words, Erin. We sur are grateful for YOU! 💕

  3. GisMom

    What a wonderful thing for you and your daughter to be doing! This post warmed my heart. It’s good to know there are loving and compassionate individuals in this world who make a difference for others.

  4. Dee

    I am prepared to be called a Grinch, but it’s important to give mindfully. While the intentions of your daughter are good, I encourage anyone to find out what happens with these boxes and how they can actually hurt the local economy where they end up or how a child in a tropical climate gets gloves and a scarf. There are several sources of information about the pitfalls of Operation Christmas Child on the internet, so I’ll back away and not return to this thread for the expected angry posts to follow.

    • Darcy Michaud

      Very valid points about the difficulties of not knowing where your box may end up. We’ve done this for years and try to think intentionally about only including things that would be of use to every child. Hygiene things in particular that any child could use. Fun things but ones that keep sustainability in mind rather than single use plastic toys. 😊😊

    • Deb

      My giving is mindful. Am I 100% sure that there aren’t pitfalls to Operation Christmas Child? Of course not. But, I am 100% sure that every child deserves to feel loved and cared for. The average OCC child has never received a Christmas gift and will only receive one OCC box during their lifetime. I can look beyond the pitfalls and am just fine with my choice. Not angry with you. Another perspective, is all.

    • MJ

      I think fine too if you are working with your church or are happy doing it. I did it last year with my kids and we packed 4 boxes with toys clothes and hygiene items, even with buying items on sale, plus sending the box, it was about 50 a box. I spent so much bc I read that the local churches and even the children’s families pay for the box bc of more shipping costs once they arrive from over seas. But after really digging into the whole picture of how much the true cost is to send these, it felt more like the focus was on the giver feeling good, kind of a savior complex, not what the children actually need. So I appreciate your post and also encourage people to dig a little more online to really get the whole picture. This year we are focusing on local charities for Xmas, thanks hip2save for posting sales, I scored big for toys for tots with you guys! Also, We’re not ignoring overseas, we do heifer international too, which also has its own negatives, but for me makes more sense for where $200 could go, vs a box….

      • Lauren

        Yes, the white savior complex is a huge issue that many of us need to continuously unlearn. Thank you for bringing that up here.

        • SueJo

          Curious why there was a need to mention a white savior complex? What exactly is this and what exactly needs to be unlearned? Honestly if you delve deeper into Samaritan’s Purse as a ministry (Operation Christmas Child being one small part), it is so much deeper and so much more meaningful then people trying to feel good about themselves. And I have seen first hand all different races coming together to serve in this ministry.

    • Rae

      You can track where your box ends up and choose the age of the child and if a boy or a girl. Also scarves are not on the list of recommended things. Toys, brush, toothbrush. Stuff like that. Some of these children never get anything. A dear friend of mine was adopted from a third world country. These children are so grateful and deserve loved and cared about. I am very mindful of what I pack in the box and make sure it’s a quality and useful rather than junk. I also choose items that are more universal for play. You can see videos online of children opening the boxes and playing with what they get.

    • Krista B

      My sister was contacted by the recipient of a shoebox she sent. That was a really cool experience! She was very grateful and didn’t have any complaints about her gift! Also, the tracking is a great tool- we have found that the boxes we send always go to Mexico, and that gives us a better idea of what to pack.

    • kupair

      There is one group on the internet that repeatedly posts things about OCC that are incorrect. I’m not sure what their beef with Samaritan’s Purse is. One of the main ones being that the poor churches have to “buy” the boxes to distribute to kids. This is simply not true, and if it happens, it’s due to corruption in that country. OCC never sells them to anyone. It’s strictly about getting the message to kids that they’re not forgotten and that God loves them. Fact check some of these claims with OCC. I’m sure in distributing millions of gifts to thousands of churches in remote areas of the world , some corruption has leaked in, but the intent is pure. This is year 15 of shoebox making for us!

  5. joann624

    A co worker of mine posted a photo of beanie babies all in great condition and said “what should I do with these?” I quickly jumped in and said I’d take them for operation Christmas child and she donated them. There are over 50 beanie babies in Individual bags that are going to make some children happy.

    • dawnh49ers

      Joann624, beanie babies are always a welcome gift treat for children. Thank you for thinking to take up your coworkers offer. This past summer, our nephew donated his collection of 100+ beanie babies to our local CHP office for personnel to use with children who are experiencing trauma. 💗

  6. Laura

    I have never done these but would like to start. And I’m glad another perspective was brought to light because it is definitely something to think about and be mindful of. Every year I volunteer with a similar program and every year my heart just breaks that these children ask for basic simple necessities like toothpaste and toothbrushes… and for their siblings as well. So I’m sure these children are Just more than appreciative of this gift! 😞 I will definitely be looking to start doing this. Thank you!

  7. SamShops

    We do Operation Christmas child every year through our church! It’s a great experience for our kids to help pick out items. This year, each box label includes a QR code to scan so you can follow your box to the child/final destination! Such a great charity!

  8. Beach Is My Happpy Place

    I started buying things for Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes in February. My grocery store marked down small Valentines Stuffed Animals 75% off. From there, tried to pick up items in different stores as the year went on. My last purchase… the cars mentioned on Hip2Save Save 50% off at Dollar General. Win! Win! An idea… include a small plastic bowl. This can be used for any age no matter what country. Thank you Hip2Save! And people who leave helpful comments and reviews.

  9. Jane D

    Thank you for posting this. Our girl scout troop would add this to our list of awesome things to do.

  10. Kay

    What an awesome post. I am so grateful for parents and children who spread love and joy. I submit to Happy Friday often, but this post is definitely a winner. Thank you H2S for choosing this post to win. It’s things like this that truly matter and should earn recognition…and motivate us to keep doing good.

  11. Tonya S

    ❤️. Love this! It’s so wonderful to teach children to give back. Thanks for sharing

  12. Wendy

    My boys & I used to make boxes for this organization as well. A great experience for both of my kiddos. I’m curious…how much do they ask to cover the cost of shipping? If I’m remembering correctly, it was $8/box? I’m sure shipping over seas is very expensive.

    • SueJo

      Yes, it use to be $8/box. This year they are asking for $9 a box. A bargain for those who are able to afford to donate the shipping in addition to their box. I know I’ve already paid more in postage to ship gifts to family, within the United States.

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