National News

Shoebox Project collects nearly 100 boxes

Posted July 6

— Local residents donated nearly 100 shoe boxes filled with toiletry items to this year's Shoebox Project.

A long-running initiative of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, the Shoebox Project seeks to collect items needed by homeless men, women and children and distribute them to agencies in local communities that provide assistance.

The office of the Jackson Progress-Argus again served as a drop-off location for those donating shoe boxes in Butts County to this year's campaign.

Through the Shoebox Project, which began in 2006, donors collect items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, lip balm, rain ponchos, combs, brushes, travel-size shampoo, socks, deodorant, hand towels, sunblock, adhesive bandages, travel-size lotion, feminine hygiene products, antibiotic ointment and travel-size soap to fill shoe boxes. Some groups spend time decorating the shoe boxes they donate with messages, stickers and wrapping paper.

The campaign concluded in May and drew 91 decorated and filled shoe boxes, which in turn were recently given to the Christian Emergency Relief Foundation in Jackson.

"It draws a lot of attention because they know the boxes they put together go directly to agencies that deal with homeless men, women and children," Shane A. Persaud, southeast regional director for the United Way of Greater Atlanta, said. "CERF is a perfect partner."

Persaud said he would like to see even more shoe boxes donated during next year's spring campaign.

"I'd like to see this grow in Butts County," he said.

Local groups and individuals donating filled shoe boxes this year included a Baptist women's group from Griffin, groups at Daughtry and Jackson elementary schools, and members of the Butts County Senior Citizens Center, who are regular contributors.

United Way's website also allows donors to build a "virtual" shoe box online with a minimum of a $10 contribution.

Al Jordan, chairman of the Christian Emergency Relief Foundation, said his agency serves individuals who often have nowhere else to turn for help with housing and other needs. Toiletry items are simply out of reach for them.

"They can't afford to buy it, and most of this stuff is expensive," Jordan said.

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