In many ways, this event is a repeat of the OCC Packing Party held a year earlier. Everything done in July 2014 was replicated for July 2015.
This is the tenth case study / 13th article within the writing serial Event Production & Management, which consists of the following articles:
- General Introduction
- Review: Christians 20/30 Great Gatsby Ball, held 26 July 2014
- Review: Operation Christmas Child (OCC) – Surge Packing Party held 30 July 2014
- Case Study #1: Friend’s Wedding held 9 August 2014
- Case Study #2: Bucks Party Surprise held 30 August 2014
- Case Study #3: Birthday Party Surprise held 3 September 2014
- Case Study #4: Friend’s Wedding held 13 September 2014
- Case Study #5: Christians 20/30 Music Festival held 4 October 2014
- Case Study #6: OCC – UCC Packing Party held 14 November, 2014
- Case Study #7: Friend’s Wedding held 15 November, 2014
- Case Study #8: Friend’s Proposal Surprise held 4 January 2015
- Case Study #9: Friend’s Wedding held 11 July 2015
- Case Study #10: OCC – Young Adults Packing Party held 29 July 2015 (this article)
- Case Study #11: Friend’s Wedding held 22 August 2015
- Case Study #12: Friend’s Wedding held 26 September 2015
- Case Study #13: Christians 20/30 OCC Charity Program held 9, 10 & 17 October 2015
- Friend’s Proposal Surprise held 3 January 2016
In many ways, the same team that was formed to organise the July 2014 packing party looked to lessons learnt and inspiration for new ways to enhance the packing party experience. During the planning phase, a rethink and refresh to the brochure and marketing material was conducted. This resulted in the brochure being converted into a three-fold pamphlets with the entire inside sheets celebrating the 2014 journey where Clayton Church had packed a record 654 boxes. In turn, that was part of a record 321,526 shoe-boxes from across Australia and New Zealand. The majority of these shoe-boxes were distributed in Vietnam, in February 2015. New opportunities for 2015 were announced and communicated in the brochure:
- $20 Prepaid packed boxes. This concept began life at this event to cater for time-poor individuals who could not attend the packing party. Instead, these individuals could donate $20 which would cover the cost of:
- $0.50 shoe-box
- $9.00 postage
- Remaining $11.50 to cover the cost of the 6+ items from each of the 6 gift categories
- Join the warehouse processing experience. The organising team had collectively agreed that we all wanted to join the next phase of the end-to-end OCC shoe-box packing process. In booking the church in for Saturday 7 November (9am to 1pm), we also announced this opportunity to the wider church community so that any interested individuals could join the team.
Part of the success in 2014 that we replicated here was the repetition of the market stall concept, where items were bought at low prices so that guests and participants at the packing party could buy them for $1 each. Generally, the initial investment paid by us as key organisers would be recovered throughout the course of the year and the remaining proceeds accumulated would then be sown into more stock, or even donated to Samaritan’s Purse. One essential characteristic that the team enforced for all packing parties and the market stall concept was that the venture had to be financially sustainable. Having the same access to a church friend who worked for the Reject Shop once again proved invaluable to ensuring a reliable source of toys and items for the market stall. To this main source of items, I supplemented our supplies with some selected online purchases on eBay and also took advantage of the opening store sales at the new Target, Chadstone.
Whilst the 2014 event had a program which began with a segment on worship where we sang a Christmas carol (Joy to the World) and then This I Believe, in this 2015 event, we simplified and dropped the worship segment completely, and instead began the night/event with a talk/sharing segment. This talk/sharing saw one of the team share on his previous experience in Cambodia in 2005 handing out the OCC shoe-boxes and also enabled us to make the party more personal and relate-able. A direct connection to the Cafe TV for the video/presentation was utilised and I made a conscious shift away from all the technology from 2014 and instead keep the event simple and focused.
The attendance was similar in size to the previous year, which was a good outcome since we had a similar three-week period to prepare and promote the event. In part, we relied on the good work accomplished from the 2014 event so that people could relate to their previous experience. The decorations were similarly adorned to the cafe tables and walls; the market stall tables were jam-packed with items overflowing. A similar outcome in terms of shoe-boxes collected on the night was the final result – 100 boxes to kick-off the 2015 tally. July 2016 will no doubt build upon these foundations to create an even better experience for all.