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More than 8.8 million shoebox gifts were collected in 2018–blessing children around the world. Each gift can make a difference in the life of a child. Our gifts went to Mexico and we’ll see where they are sent this year.
Here is just one story:
Evgeniy and the soap
To the person that packed my shoebox, I say, “Thank you! You gave me something small, but it was so significant!”
My mother abandoned me at birth so I grew up in an orphanage until I was adopted in 2004 at age 14. At the orphanage, located in the former Soviet Union, we didn’t have a lot of things, including showers or bathtubs. Instead, they put us on a school bus once a month and drove us to the public bath house in a small city of 10,000 people. The 120 kids in the orphanage were divided into age groups. My group of 30 shared one bar of soap.
At age 12, I received my shoebox with a slinky and some small rubber balls along with a washcloth. Looking at the washcloth, I had no idea how to use it. Best of all, there was a bar of scented soap. It smelled wonderful! Our soap was odorless.
We had to hide everything that was precious to us so it would ‘t get stolen. I gave an older friend my bar of soap and she hid it for for a year, until showers were built at the orphanage—it took another 6 months for them to work properly. A friend & I begged the security guards to open the showers so I could use my soap—I was only able to use it a couple more times before I left the orphanage. That bar of soap was precious to me. It was my own and I’d never had my own bar of soap.
I became a Christian about 2 years after my brothers and I were adopted.
Today I work for a pharmaceutical company in Texas that makes eye care products. I am also a photographer in my spare time. Looking back, I realize my shoebox gave me a sense of hope. It showed me that someone really cared enough to pack this gift and send it to me.
Now as I pack shoeboxes, every one contains a bar of scented soap and a washcloth. I want the child to experience what I experienced. I want them to know that there’s someone who cares for them. Most of all, I want them to know God loves them.
This is just one story. Please consider packing a shoebox gift. Boxes are available in the narthex, along with a list of gift suggestions. They need to be returned to church by November 17, along with a $9.00 donation for shipping. Contact Jean Stephenson with questions.