This week our district had the opportunity to aid in another charity movement sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, known as the Shoe Box Appeal. People will pick an age range for boys or girls, and then pack a shoe box with things that children in that age range would need and enjoy. Typically each box contains soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a wash cloth, something to keep them warm, such as hat, gloves, or a scarf, and then something they can use to practice writing or creating skills, so a colouring book and crayons for young children, or notebooks and word puzzles and pencils for the older ones, and then anything the giver wants to include for the child, sweets, toys, trinkets, little gifts; anything the giver particularly feels the child who will receive their box needs. Then they wrap their shoe box in Christmas paper and send it to the warehouse.
The part we’ve been helping with is what goes on at the warehouse. Here the boxes are checked to make sure they have the things that are required and that the child will essentially need, and also check to make sure there is nothing in there that shouldn’t be sent. For example because most of the boxes go to war torn countries nothing war related can be put it, like toy soldiers, guns, camouflage and such. And no chocolate can be sent either because certain religions can’t eat any dairy. By the end of the day on Thursday we had a huge box full of chocolate that we’d taken out of the shoe boxes. But everything we take out gets sent to a different charity that can use them, so nothing gets wasted. So once we’d gone through the boxes we closed them up and taped them, and then the elders would pack them all into larger boxes according to age range, and then pack them into the vans and trailers ready to be shipped. All the boxes in this batch we are currently doing will be sent to Liberia for the first time since the Ebola outbreak three years ago.
I took all these picture Thursday at the end of the day when most of the other people there had left. Earlier in the day though it was hopping with a whole bunch of volunteers. Here is a picture of some of the racks with all the wrapped show boxes still to be checked and secured.
This is Sister Gjevik and a girl in our ward checking the contents of a box. That table behind them is for all the stuff we’d taken out that wasn’t allowed to go over.
This is what our workspace looked like. Pretty messy, but lots of fun. You can see all the snapped rubber bands right there that I accidentally broke while trying to stretch around boxes. Let’s just say my hands hurt pretty bad after that, and I accidentally shot my companion several time, bless her heart. 😳
Here’s another. Doesn’t it look like Santa’s workshop? I totally felt like an elf or something putting presents in boxes and wrapping them all pretty, and then sending them off to children somewhere else in the world. They should’ve played Christmas music in the background.
Here is a picture of the other side of the warehouse. On the right you can see the elders packing them into shipping boxes and taping them up to send to Liberia.
It was such a fun experience to help with sending things to children who don’t have anything at all. One story that goes around the warehouse is that one year a little boy received a toothbrush in his box, and shared it for a whole year with his entire family of five. The next year, he received another shoe box, this time with a pack of five toothbrushes in it, so everyone in the family received their own. But the thing is that the boxes aren’t sent to any specific person. Most people don’t even know where their box ends up. It made me feel so good to think that I helped in some way to give to children in need in war torn places around the world.