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If you’re familiar with our ministry, and with the way Allen likes to run things, you already know that he’s not one to shy away from a challenge! One of our annual challenges is trying to fill a 40′ shipping container with donations each fall.

A 40′ shipping container is huge. It’s gigantic, really, and it holds a vast amount of stuff. We know this on a very personal level, because every year about half of the contents of a 40′ shipping container is unloaded into our house!

But we realize that most normal people – that would be people who don’t find themselves regularly emptying shipping containers into their homes – wouldn’t likely have a good grasp of how much stuff fits into a container of this size. So Allen and I sat down and worked out some examples to help you understand the enormity of this task.

A 40′ shipping container has an interior space of 2540 cubic feet. You could fill this space with:

150 car trunks jam packed full of soft items (like clothing and bedding) . . . or . . .

the contents of 15 full-size commercial vans (with no back seats and no passengers), loaded full to the roof . . . or . . .

1250 large black plastic garbage bags, full to the brim (except for room to tie the bag shut) with soft items . . . or . . .

10,000 shoe boxes filled with Christmas gifts (or shoes) . . . or . . .

19,000 gallons of paint . . . or . . .

100,000 cans of Coke . . . or . . .

the interior space of your average suburban 2 car garage, loaded to the rafters with NOTHING but items for in the container, and no pathways.

That’s a lot of stuff.

Just for fun, here’s a list of some of the strange things we’ve brought down in containers in the past. NONE of these items filled a container entirely, they were surrounded by other donations:

a 31,000 pound Caterpillar front end loader

a 15,000 pound John Deere backhoe

a 28,000 pound John Deere road grader

11 motorcycles, 2 all-terrain vehicles (4 wheelers)

a Kubota tractor and 14 generators

20 solar panels and 4000 pounds of batteries for our solar energy system

400,000 children’s meals for use in our feeding centers

40 refurbished desktop computers (for Christian schools)

20 miles of steel cable for constructing hanging bridges

5 miles of PVC plumbing pipe

So what is the point of all of this? 

It is once again time for us to collect gifts and donations to fill a 40′ shipping container! We’re requesting donations of pre-made gift boxes, bulk items for use in creating gift boxes, gently used clothing (nothing larger than size adult large, please) and bedding. Sweaters, jackets and blankets are especially appreciated. We are in BAD SHAPE for donations this year, as several churches which have previously supported this project very generously are no longer able to do so this year! We desperately need your help with this!

You can find all the specific info you need, in order to take part in this project, on our Gifts for Gracias web page, and our Gifts for Gracias Facebook page. We’re collecting in Florida and Maryland, and you can donate by mail or in person. The Florida mailing deadline is October 10th – just a short time away now! The Maryland mailing deadline is November 30th. In either location you could squeeze in an in-person delivery for about a week or so after the mailing deadline.

Won’t you help us help them?