FARMINGTON — Packing 177 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is amazing, but doing it in a one-bedroom mobile home adds another dimension to the accomplishment.
Barbara Young, member of Delassus Baptist Church, Farmington, uses her living space to collect for the children of the world.
“I started collecting six or seven years ago with 12 boxes,” Young said, “and it has just snowballed. I’ve increased the number of boxes each year. I shop all year long and the church helps me with the shipping cost.”
According to Young, her dedication to the project is need driven.
“It boggles my mind to know how many children out there need these boxes,” she said. “The children don’t have items to meet daily needs. We take these necessities for granted, but they consider them a wonderful gift.”
Young shops the sales and uses coupons to gather hygiene items, small toys and school supplies to pack in the shoeboxes.
“I stockpile the supplies, but I also put them in boxes as I go,” Young said. “I have boxes everywhere in my mobile home. We’ve put in shelves behind all of my furniture to hold boxes and I have boxes stacked under my bed and chaise lounge.”
All the members of Young’s family get involved with helping her store and collect the goodies.
“My son put in a piece of wood across from my linen closet,” she said, “so he could mount a door across the room which I use to store boxes. I can get 40 boxes on that door turned shelf. My son-in-law is able to purchase items wholesale for me and my grandson goes with me to purchase items on sale. We hit all the one cent sales and use lots of coupons. We also shop after major holidays like Christmas and Easter when things get marked down.”
Young is also creative in her special touches to the boxes.
“I use my 40 percent coupons at Michael’s to buy beads and then split them up to make kits for the older girls,” she said. “I also collect fabric and make sewing kits for the girls and for the boys; I add tools like pliers and screwdrivers.”
Twenty-five boxes are already started for next year.
“I love to get a head start and I can get a lot squeezed into those boxes I pack,” she said.
Although local drop-off locations are closed, there is still plenty of time to get involved through the project’s “Build a Box” online tool to virtually pack a shoebox gift. In addition, year-round opportunities to volunteer are available on www.samaritanspurse.org/occ or call (636)-300-3190.
Gifts are also received year-round at Samaritan’s Purse by mailing them to 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, N.C., 28607.