One size fits all: Shoeboxes full of supplies benefit children around the world

October 2017 Posted in Community

IMG_5379By Nancy Jennings

Instead of receiving gifts to celebrate her milestone 50th birthday last year, Christine Schneider wanted to give gifts to the less fortunate. The Silverton resident, along with her husband Carl and four children, planned a party with family and friends to fulfill her wish.

Thirty guests arrived bearing items to donate to a cause close to her heart – the Samaritan’s Purse. The National Christian Foundation, founded in 1970 by Rev. Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, helps impoverished children from different countries receive gift-wrapped shoeboxes filled with school and personal hygiene supplies. The Schneiders and their children have been involved in the project for seven years.

“For parents, it’s a really good thing to do with your kids because we live in a very affluent society – compared to the rest of the world. I’ve talked to a lot of parents who want to teach their children to appreciate things in gratitude,” she said.

Silverton’s national collection week will be Nov. 13 – 20 at the Baptist Church on 229 Westfield St. Shoeboxes wil be sent to such destinations as the Middle East, Philippines, Eastern Europe, Russian and Mongolia.

“A lot of these kids’ parents can’t afford school supplies, so some can’t go to school,” Schneider said.

Schneider said she looks out for sales throughout the year, buys items piecemeal and packs them into plastic shoeboxes – an added plus to the recipients due to its reusability. “You can include a picture of your family and your address… They can see that this came from a real person who packed this box, sent it to them and cares.”

Caring about others comes naturally to the Schneiders. For the past year they have assisted the homeless at the “church at the park” in Salem.

“We do an informal Bible study. Some of them used to be homeless, but they aren’t anymore. Some still come because they feel comfortable there,” Schnieder said. “Then some want to help other homeless people because they’ve been there and they understand it.”

She is hopeful donations will increase and continue to spread the universal act of caring.

“To have somebody give them a present, tells them that God loves them,” she said.

For more information and a list of needed items, check out the website at A new feature includes stories of the outcomes experienced by recipients.

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