If your church or women’s ministry group decides to plan a “Hope Box” Mission Project, it might be best to attach your mission project to a seasonal event such as a Mother/Daughter banquet, a retreat, Harvest Supper or Christmas event, at which donations can be collected. Prayerfully put your committee together, and decide whether you want to have an Individual Boxes of Hope project or a Prison Visitation Park Project, or both. You will need to contact the chaplain of a prison or correctional facility in your own area to determine the specific logistics for shipping your local donations. He or she may also be aware of families of prisoners who are in desperate need of encouragement. You may also contact Speak up for Hope, if you would prefer to coordinate your donation efforts with their office. Email:
Organizing Your Speak Up For Hope Mission Project
Prior to your Event:
- Enlist your committee of approximately 6-8 helpers to assist in collecting items that event attendees donate, and to assist later in sorting the items, and packing the encouragement boxes after the event.
- Order Boxes and crinkle cut filler on-line if you are planning to do the Individual Hope Box Project.
- Communicate/advertise the mission project to the event attendees in the form of a hand-out, mailer, bulletin insert, etc. (to see a great Mission Project Sample flyer, click here)
- Discuss project implementation. Plan a brief meeting with your enlisted helpers to clearly communicate expectations of them during and after events. Pray together, for God to bless thee volunteers, the donors and those who will receive the boxes.
- Send a letter and schedule to your team of helpers to remind them of their commitment in written form (or email).
- Be available early on set up day to prepare the collection area to receive donations.
- Leaders: Arrive early to check on set up collection area and get things “organizaed.” You may want to label collectin boxes or baskets: “Books,” “Personal Care Items,” “Stationery Items,” “Stuffed Animals,” ” Coffee Mugs,” “Games,” etc. to help oraganize and display donations.
- Expectations of helpers:
- Arrive early to assist with set up of collection areas.
- Be available in designated areas to collect items brought by attendees.
- If a problem arises, seek out a ministry staff member.
- Sort and display items collected in the designated place for event attendees to see.
- Coordinate volunteers
- Include a personal letter of encouragement with each box. (If your event is planned in partnership with Speak Up for Hope, a sample will be provided to include with each box. Email Bonnie at:
- Prepare detailed inventory lists and enclosure letters to chaplains if your mission project include Prison Visitation Part Encouragement Boxes.
- Pray over the boxes before your ship them out, that God will bless your efforts, and that He will bring hope and encouragement to those who receive them.
who will package items that are to be mailed to individuals in ndeed of encouragement following the event.
Donation suggestions for Individual Boxes of Hope
Remember to think “encouraging!” All donations should be new, and something that you would feel special receiving. Be sure that fragile items are carefully packaged to eliminate breakage. Here are some suggestions for your Hope Boxes:
- Small stuffed animals (Beanie Babies are the ideal size)
- Bibles, and Christian Books
- Praise and worship CDs
- Coffe Mugs, Individually packaged specialty coffees, teas, or hot chocolate
- Journals, stationery, and bookmarks
- Small photo albums and picture frames
- Small Kleenex box
- Books of stamps
- Phone Cards
- Fun/encouraging refriderator magnets
- Bath products such as: Hand and body lotion, shower gel, bubble batch, foot scrub, Scrubbies, etc. (It is nice ot include a set of three of these items that are brand or color coordinated, and placed inside a plastic bag to avoid leakage into the rest of the package.)
- Scented candles
Note: Thre may be individuals in your group who, due to their work schedules, may not be available to volunteer to help with collection and packaging, but they may be able to help financially with the cost of mailing the boxes to the recipients. Let them know how meaningful their part would be to the success of the project.
Donation Suggestions for Prison Visitation Park Boxes of Hope
If your ministry decides to have a Prison Visitation Park Boxes of Hope Mission Project, keep in mind that all items need to be new, and in original packaging.
- Board and Card Games
- Scrabble include a paperback Scrabble dictionary
- Chutes & Ladders
- Connect 4
- Skip Bo
- Playing Cards
- Childrens Card Games (Old Maid, Go Fish, etc.) and Educational Flash Cards
- Coloring Books, and Crayons
- Activity books, and Word Find Books, Crossword Puzzle Books
- Childrens Story Books, Bible Story Books
- Bibles, Devotional Books
To safeguard donations, and reduce theft, all donations should be carefully inventoried and listed in your cover letter and sent to the attention of the facility chaplain for distribution to the visitation parks. It is also a good idea to put a sticker on each item donated. Example: “Donated to the Avon Park C.I. Visitation Park by Speak Up for Hope” (File folder labels are an ideal size.)
ORDERING BOXES for Individual Boxes of Hope Mission Project
Priority Mail Boxes are available free of charge at your local post office or on-line at www.usps.com. The Large, Flat Rate Priority Mail Box (12″ x 12″ x 5 1/2″) is the ideal size for this project, and they may be ordered on-line in minimum quantities of 10 packs, or in bundles of 25. Current, (fall 2008) the cost for mailing these boxes anywhere in the United States, regardless of weight, is $12.95. (Free shipping labels are also available from USPS).
White Boxes: If your group is interested in purchasing boxes and shipping via UPS or Parcel Post, lovely, white boxes had be purchased from ULINE Shpping Supply Specialists.
White Boxes: Springy filler can be ordered in bulk from USBox.com.