How to pack and ship shoeboxes for Mexico

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Since we deliver several hundred shoeboxes on each trip, it is extremely important to the success of our mission trip that the boxes be packed and handled as outlined below. The missionary attendees on the trip have very limited time during the delivery weekend, so if the boxes are not packed in a consistent manner, it takes time away from our mission work onsite to re-process incorrectly packed boxes.

Here are key points in packing and shipping the boxes:

  • Use a medium-size shoebox. Do not use very small “sandals” boxes or large “boot” boxes. There will, of course, be some variation in box size, but avoid the extremes. That way each child receives a similar amount of items.
  • It is OK to use plastic boxes as long as they are equivalent size to a standard shoebox.
  • Be sure you include a wide assortment of items in each box. Do not pack a box with only toiletry items, only school supplies, only two or three large items, etc.
  • Do not include any bulky clothes in the boxes. A special T-shirt, 2-3 pairs of socks, a knit cap would be OK. But not a 12-pack of socks or a bulky hoodie.
  • Fill up the boxes. If you only have enough items to fill 10 boxes, don’t try to stretch it to pack 20. We want the kids to receive a box full of assorted items.
  • All boxes need to be gift-wrapped. Wrap your boxes with colorful/seasonal paper. Wrap the lid and box bottom separately so the box lid can be lifted up for inspection at the border. Use a large rubber band to hold the box closed.
  • Label all boxes on END of box with gender and age per the designations on the labels.
  • Again: label goes on one END of each box.

If you end up with a small assortment of left-over items, you can keep them on hand and use for next year’s boxes, or send them along (clearly marked as “extra items”) with your packed shoeboxes—and we’ll use them as filler in boxes that may need a few extra items.

Important! If you will be donating shoebox gifts as a group, please designate someone to be your “quality control” person to monitor the activity and be sure that the boxes are prepared as outlined above. Your group may want each individual to collect a variety of items or to have a group budget and assign some folks to shop for items, and bring them to a “wrapping and packing party” (which is a great way to do it). Or your people may pack their own boxes at home and bring them to a central location for shipping. However you do it, please have your “quality control” person look in every box to be sure they meet the guidelines above. This is very important!

Boxes shipped must arrive at shipping destination no later than Wednesday before the trip starts.

Ship via UPS or FedEx (not US Postal Service) to: Crossing Borders, c/o Laredo Stepping Stone, 377 Palomino Rd, Laredo, TX 78045.

P.S. You are invited to come along to distribute the boxes across the border in Mexico. If you’re interested, check info at, e-mail to: or call 903-746-4463.
Yes, you will need a passport.