Having people from different groups dropping boxes off at individual churches instead of relay or collection centers means that we don't get those groups signed in and never are able to affirm them or encourage their further participation. For example, 9 of these boxes that were left at Grace Church came from a local business office but they'll never be officially recognized through Operation Christmas Child channels because they weren't signed in on a collection site drop-off log.
(This is where I climb down from my soapbox and get on to the shoeboxes)
So not knowing anyone from Erie going to the Processing Center this year, I began to make arrangements to mail the boxes. I'd heard from a friend that my OCC regional office might have a special deal with UPS to mail them more cheaply so I contacted them and found that wasn't the case. They were willing to ship them for me via UPS but if I left them in the 4 large boxes I had them packed in, UPS would charge a surcharge for large boxes and the bill would come to $400.00! Even if I put them in smaller boxes it would cost at least $150 to send them UPS.
It was cheaper and easier to leave them in the large cartons and take them to the local post office. It's gratifying to mail large packages and feel like you're getting a deal. My husband helped me haul the 4 boxes (total weight of 126.5 pounds) over to the post office where the clerk got her work-out and I got them all on their way for just $80.00--and that included delivery confirmation of .80 for each carton.
I'm praying for their safe arrival because I think there may have been checks in some of those boxes. Of course, these had to be some of the largest and heaviest boxes of the season but an average of $2.61 for mailing heavy shoeboxes isn't bad. It's a lot less painful than mailing a little package of chocolate sponge candy to Denver and paying $13.00.
The stragglers are shipped and I'm praying the 35 children who receive them will be blessed.