Collection underway for children’s shoebox donations

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In 2013, nearly 100 million shoeboxes were donated to Operation Christmas Child, and still millions of children around the world did not know the love and caring a simple gift could bring.

Linda Adams, Salem-Troy Baptist Association administrator, said the association’s office will again be the shoebox collection point for Pike County, and already 35 crates have been packed with shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

“Collection Week is Nov. 17-25 but we are accepting shoeboxes now,” Adams said. “Last year, we took 2,967 shoeboxes to the distribution site in Atlanta, and we hope to have 3,000 or more this year. Pike County is always very generous with its giving.”

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Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child through church affiliation, clubs, organizations, neighborhoods or individually.

“Participation is simple,” Adams said. “Just pack a shoebox or a plastic box the size of a shoebox with items that will make Christmas brighter for a child who would otherwise have nothing.”

Although a larger plastic box or boot box would hold more items, regular shoebox size boxes are preferred.

“There just aren’t enough boxes to go around so it’s better to pack two boxes than one,” Adams said.

Items recommended for the shoeboxes include school supplies such as pencils and paper, toothbrushes and soap.

“Many times, children who don’t have the required school supplies are not allowed to attend school,” Adams said. “Soap is always needed, and Ivory is recommended because it floats. When children are bathing in the river and drop their soap, it usually is lost unless it floats. Ivory soap floats.”

For eight years, Adams has volunteer to assist with the packing of shoeboxes in the Atlanta distribution center.

“I’ve heard some very touching stories of how Operation Christmas Child is touching lives,” she said. “One young Romanian, who received a shoebox in her home country, was adopted by an American family and now volunteers at the distribution center. She told how she shared a toothbrush with 14 others. The thing she wanted most was a hairclip. That’s how great the needs are in many places.”

Adams said other suggested items for the shoeboxes are t-shirts, mittens, small toys, stuffed animals and hard candy, which should be double-bagged in the event it melts.

Items to avoid are anything liquid, including hand sanitizers, glass and war related toys and play guns.

A check in the amount of $7 made to Operation Christmas Child should be included in each shoebox to pay shipping charges.

The checks are removed from the shoeboxes at the distribution center, as are any items that are disallowed.

“The boxes are inspected, but they are left intact,” Adams said. “Operation Christmas Child makes Christmas a joyous time for millions of children. Hopefully, we’ll pack more shoeboxes this year than ever before.”

Shoeboxes are to be delivered to the Salem-Troy Baptist Association office at 317 Ray Ave. just off George C. Wallace Boulevard in Troy.

For more information, call 334-566-1538.