Saturday, October 4, 2014

Packing Party Praises

Not gonna lie--this was an especially hard packing party year and packing party day but our sixth Community-Wide Operation Christmas Child packing party is completed.

We didn't make our goal of 23,000 (first time we fell short of the goal) but God miraculously gave us 22,647 hard-won boxes--an increase of 156 over last year.

This morning I thought we'd never come close to the goal as I made all the calls I could to try to locate the 10,500 water bottles that had not arrived.  The company in Erie said they never received the shipment and I left messages but never got an answer from the middleman trucking company or the seller.

So we spent the day trying to constantly re-figure how to combine the items we had to make as many good boxes as possible.  It was crazy and chaotic with boxes backed up and waiting to be checked and closed almost all day long.

At noon, after we'd made several such adjustments, the truck with the water bottles miraculously arrived.  It took a lot of manpower just to get them unloaded from the truck and placed.

When we went to use the water bottles we discovered the lids weren't on them and we had to find those lids (buried in the storage container, of course) and start attaching them.  It was quite a day, and by the end of it I thought if I heard someone call my name one more time I might lose my sanity.

With a lot of strategizing to figure out what to put into the boxes, we finally got to the long-awaited number of 22,011.  That 22,011th box this year was the 100,000th box packed at our packing parties since we started them in 2009.  Here are a few of our team members celebrating that 100,000th box with their head-boppers.

We worked longer than we have for the past few years with only 350 volunteers throughout the day (compared to about 600 last year) and didn't finish until 4:30 pm.   One of our volunteers counted how many boxes she packed (150) by tallying them on her hand.

Finally, every filler was used and we declared the packing completed.  Here is Agnes packing the last four boxes of the day.

Clean up was a tough one this year, too.  We had just a trickle of volunteers left at the end, but our exhausted team worked like troopers.

I was so careful to be sure we ordered plenty of boxes, had plenty of cartons, and had plenty of truck space.  After all that, we had four cartons of leftover boxes, we had leftover cartons, and we had way too much space left on the truck.

Still, 22,647 miracles are a lot for one day.

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