Little boxes of hope and love
Needy kids around the globe receive gifts and essential supplies
Rene Morgan has earned her title of "Shoebox Lady." Each year she fills dozens of boxes that are shipped to children in need worldwide.
Morgan began working on the Operation Christmas Child project a few years ago, making a few dozen boxes. Her efforts have tripled, and she's since gotten Trinity Christian School involved, with a goal of 600 boxes.
It's not only the school that has jumped onto the bandwagon. A Payless ShoeSource clerk saved her 600 boxes. Her children's pediatrician provided lollipops and pinwheels. A hotel manager gave her dozens of pens and bars of soap. Her dentist provided toothbrushes and toothpaste.
"It's like stone soup," she said. "One person comes with a potato, another with a carrot, we put everything in a big pot and we can feed the entire village."
Sophia, Morgan's 9-year-old daughter, plans to take over when Mom decides to retire. "I love Operation Christmas Child," Sophia said. "All you need to do is get a box, pack in some goodies and you can make a child smile in a different world."
Even Morgan's birthday celebrations are dedicated to the project. For the past two years, her parties have consisted of filling boxes. "All I wanted for my birthday was more finished shoe boxes."
Operation Christmas Child, launched in 1993, delivers shoe boxes to children in more than 100 countries on six continents. Morgan was excited that out of the millions of shoe boxes that are delivered, one of hers was chosen for a poster campaign.
"I collect stuff year-round. ... It's always in the forefront of my mind," said Morgan. "On mainland trips, if things are on sale, I'll pick up 100 packs of pencils or crayons and pack it in my luggage."
Morgan always makes sure a stuffed animal is included in every box. "Amidst a village being bombed, a teddy bear will comfort them," she said. She also includes Ivory soap because it floats and the children might be bathing in rivers.
"Sometimes, if you include a return address, the kids that receive the boxes will send a letter. It's nice to know that children around the world know that someone cares about them."
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Malia Hagmann stacks finished shoe boxes, each marked appropriately for a boy or girl.
FILLING A SHOE BOX
Use any shoe box or similarly sized plastic or other storage container with a removable lid. Include an item from each category:
» Small toys, but no war-related items such as guns, swords or action figures
» School supplies, but no liquid glue
» Hygiene items such as soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, but no liquids
» T-shirts and/or socks
» Hard candy or gum (no chocolate)
» Miscellaneous items such as hair accessories, small books, etc.
» Personal letters and photos of donors are optional.
Deadline: Boxes will be accepted through Monday at Central Union Church. Boxes may be wrapped, but lid needs to be wrapped separately so it can be removed. Call 295-3027.