I also regularly pray for God to tell us clearly if He wants us to scale back and pack fewer boxes (say maybe 3000) so we can send the entire shipping donation. Somehow, though, He keeps providing all these items and we just keep packing.
Still, I pray both these prayers over and over and over.
I try to think of every way possible to get more funds for shipping these boxes. I've sold things at consignment stores. My husband and I give all we can on a monthly basis. I've done an online fundraiser through Samaritan's Purse each year that has raised as much as $1000 but, truthfully, most of my social media contacts are people who already pack shoeboxes themselves.
Back in the late 1990s when eBay was pretty new I sold items there that I found at yard sales--mostly books and vintage toys. And I did pretty well with all proceeds going to various mission projects. But then eBay became flooded with so many items and fees were charged for listing items each week. If the items didn't sell you could actually lose money.
Over the past few years of yard sale trips I collected some things I thought might earn some money, and when I cleaned out my spare room after the holidays I decided it was time to try again on eBay. To my excitement I found proceeds of my sales on eBay could go directly to Samaritan's Purse and, if they did, I wouldn't have to pay eBay fees. I also discovered eBay now only charges the fee when the item sells (probably had to do that to compete with Facebook marketplace and other platforms.) It was also easier to list the items than it used to be.
In the past two months I sold about 20 items and Samaritan's Purse will receive a donation of $1200. It doesn't seem like much compared to $204,273, and it goes into Samaritan's Purse's general fund. But I am pretending it's a way to help with shipping.
The thing is--I pretty much depleted my stock of anything salable. Only a few items remain that I keep trying to sell.
Fast forward to this week when I heard about several Dr. Seuss books being removed from publication. That led me to pull down the attic staircase and trudge up into that cold storage to check the two boxes of children's books that are left there. These are the ones my daughters didn't want for our grandchildren--the really old and beat up ones. I have a terrible time parting with old books or these would be gone too.
One copy paper box held old Dr. Seuss books. These are ones I bought at yard sales--probably for no more than .25 each--decades ago when my kids were small. And, voila!--I found two of those now out-of-print books--"If I Ran The Zoo" and "To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street."
So I listed them on eBay. One of the auctions was shut down pretty quickly for "objectionable material" so I relisted it. Later that afternoon I heard about the title of another book "McElligot's Pool". Another search in the attic and I found that one and listed it, too. Trouble is, I made a misspelling in the title and added an extra 't'--spelling it "McElligott's Pool" and eBay would not let me change the title in the listing. This makes it more difficult for people to find it in a search. I was so upset with myself!
By that night (well, actually, 3:00 am the next morning since I couldn't sleep and kept checking it) the auction on "If I Ran The Zoo" was up to $510! And "...Mulberry Street" was up to $85...while the misspelled "McElligot's Pool" actually had some bids and was up to $81!
I grabbed a few hours of sleep and when I woke at 8:00 am I had emails telling me the first two auctions had been taken down for "objectionable material". Now I had a dilemma. Should I try relisting them? I decided to relist them at a lower fixed price instead of an auction, hoping they would sell before the listings could be removed. And, success--"If I Ran The Zoo" sold for $150 and "...Mulberry Street" for $69.99 immediately. I've been kicking myself since then thinking I should have asked a higher price but I just wanted them to be sold quickly without auctions being removed.
The auction for the last book kept going. I think maybe that misspelling was providential. It was more difficult for buyers to find the book but also more difficult for eBay 'checkers' to find.
I just finished watching the bidding play out to the final second...AND the winning bid was $190.50. Thank you, Lord, for that misspelling error, my failure to purge the attic of all those old books, and a well-timed Dr. Seuss craze. Now, if only I'd tried to put the other two books at a higher price...
Still, that's $410.49 for shipping I didn't have last week.
God meets our needs in strange ways, too. God meets our needs--for me, for you!