Many times during the holidays, families will join in the filling of shoeboxes for needy children around the world. This is a great project for families with kids of all ages. The kids can help you pick out items and pack them into the boxes. Small items like socks, granola bars, bibles, cars and toothbrushes can be big hits.
Another way that you can use this idea any time of the year is to fill goody boxes for soldiers and missionaries that live overseas. There are many who would love to get little goodies from home that are hard to come by where they are now stationed. Again, some of the same small items work well here too. As well as playing cards and magazines, etc. It is a great way to get kids involved in community service and helping others and thinking of others in differing circumstances. It helps kids to widen their world a bit.
I know that our homeschool group has done the boxes for soldiers before. I know that when you gather many of these to send, the shipping can get rather high. And the post office cannot cut any deals with you on the price of shipping.
But I just learned about a place that can. At the Freight & Shipping Blog , I came across a post about how they are willing to work with groups who would like to send goody boxes overseas. This would be such a great family activity with a little savings added in.