Welcome back.  This month the focus on the Link to Hope calendar is gifts for men.  It can be easy to focus on gifts for children in the family gift boxes, (and I always find the men in my family difficult to buy presents for) but it’s nice to include something the men might appreciate (that’s not to say that the women in the household won’t want to use any DIY tools – I certainly do some DIY!)  Suggestions on the calendar are work gloves, DIY tools, tape measures, belts, ties and handkerchiefs.

Poundland have sets of 4 screwdrivers for £1.00 (I sometimes divide them up and put 2 screwdrivers per box.)  I also bought a pair of work gloves for 79p from Home Bargains.  You might be able to find ties in charity shops – just check that they are clean and in good condition. 

As I mentioned last month, I have bought cotton hankies from Poundland in the past but haven’t seen any in my local store recently.  You can buy packs on eBay.  There are some packs of 15 for around £6.50 including postage which are 40 cm x 40 cm (16 inches), £3.50 for 10 that are 36 cm x 36 cm (14 inches.)   I did see some that were £6.88 for 20 but when I looked at the details, they were smaller, just 28 cm x 28 cm (11 inches).

I do usually put some socks in the shoe boxes and Bargain Buys/Poundstretcher have a pack of 3 pairs of men’s sports socks for £1.00.  You can either put all 3 pairs in one box or divide them amongst a few shoeboxes.

Razors are also a good option and Tesco and Sainsburys seem to be the cheapest – a pack of 5 razors for 30p.

I was hoping some of the Father’s Day gifts may have been reduced – but so far I haven’t seen any ☹

Other bargains I’ve seen so far this month are the Foxes Glacier mints in Aldi – they were already good value at 49p but they are now reduced to 29p and the use by date is okay to put in the shoe boxes. Bargain Buys still have packs of Star Wars stickers for 25p.  Wilko have packs of 3 pens for 25p reduced from £1.50.  They aren’t the cheapest but look nicer than standard biros.  Morrisons currently have their boiled fruit sweets for 40p per packet but in my local store the best before date is May 2021, but the recommended best before for the shoe boxes is BBE June 2021.

The other charity I regularly actively support is The Farm Animal Sanctuary at Little Middleton, Evesham.  https://www.thefarmanimalsanctuary.co.uk/index.php   It isn’t the closest animal sanctuary to my home, but when I started to support them they were the closest animal sanctuary that had cows, (I like cows) and when I emailed them to see if they wanted any craft items to help them raise funds they emailed back straightaway to ask if I wanted a stall at their open day – (another sanctuary nearer to me never replied despite 3 emails to them.).  For the last couple of years I’ve had a craft stall at their open day in September to help raise funds towards their running costs. I would normally start making things now, and book some annual leave in late August to make sure I do actually have enough items to sell 😊.  Due to Covid 19 it looks like they are cancelling this years open day so I will have to try and think of other things to do to raise funds for them.  Like a lot of charities their normal fundraising options have dwindled.  I am lucky that I am still working full time and working from home is saving me some money in commuting costs, so I have been using some of that money to buy a few things from their Amazon wish list.

Because I’m not crafting for the Farm Animal Sanctuary I am using the time to knit squares to make some knee blankets for Link to Hope, and I’m trying my hand at some simple knitted teddies which can’t go in the shoeboxes, (due to EU regulations) but are used as packing in the outer boxes and they are then handed out to children in the destination countries.   

Update Superdrug had some small men’s gift sets in store on 17 July in their B Men range that contain a 50ml 4 in 1 wash, and a 50ml shave cream for 49p and the added bargain when I got to the till was that they were 3 for 2. 😊  When I got home I ordered some more and tried to order some 100ml bottles of shampoo for 5p but the shampoo was only available to collect from stores with them in stock. There was one store about 80 miles away but I decided it wasn’t appropriate or cost effect to drive that far.  They were no longer in stock in that store the following day.    They are still on the website so somewhere there’s a store with some, so it may be near you 😊!

Poundland have some pencil cases and A5 notebooks for 50p which would be good for family shoe boxes.

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