Shoebox collection goes on | News, Sports, Jobs

Miranda Perkins of East Palestine, left, and Georgia Smith of New Springfield, prepare cards with messages ofr Operation Shebox held at Southington Christian Church place wrapped shoeboxes fpr Operation Shoebox.


SOUTHINGTON — Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child is collecting shoeboxes filled with toys and other items to give to children around the world, although some changes have been made during the coronavirus pandemic.

People have been dropping off items in recent weeks at Southington Christian Church. During the national collection week Nov. 16-23, the shoeboxes will be collected at Living Word Sanctuary in Southington as well as various other locations in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Nora Smith with Georgia Smith, 12, both of New Springfield, and Miranda Perkins of East Palestine were at the Southington location helping and dropping off shoeboxes and other items.

Nora Smith with Prince of Peace Parish in Poland said her church is also a drop-off location, as it was last year.

“When I started going to church there, there was always members taking part,” she said. “I got involved and have been taking part ever since.”

Debra Buckel, logistics coordinator for northeast Ohio at the Southington church site, said efforts are being made to collects as many shoeboxes as possible during the global pandemic.

“We want to collect more shoeboxes than ever before, because now more than ever children need hope,” she said.

Buckel said creative ways are being made to pack shoeboxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. These boxes can include crayons, school supplies, hygiene items, small toys and coloring books.


Patricia Roberts of Southington was at the Southington church site with her grandson, Grayson Harnett, 8, also of Southington, filling and sealing the shoeboxes.

“I have been doing this for the past three years and find it rewarding,” Roberts said.

“This is a mission of love to help others and for a good cause,” said Cindy Church of West Farmington, who was working at a table at the church near Roberts.

Rudy Braydish, area coordinator for northeast Ohio, said in past years people would pack their own shoeboxes and drop them off at different locations, which would get them ready in cartons and ship them to the processing areas.

“This year we are going to have more of a contact-less collection. People will still be able to drop shoeboxes off at a designated location, such as a church. People also are able to fill shoeboxes with information over the phone. We will unload the boxes from people’s cars and bring them inside. We are doing everything we can to be safe,” he said.

Braydish said Buckel and others packed 600 shoeboxes at the Southington location,

A $9 donation will help with shipping costs. People can send cards with messages to the children in the boxes.

Buckel, who has taken part the past 12 years, said she has had people from not only Trumbull, but also Mahoning, Ashtabula, Columbiana and Portage counties take part in the annual event.


Braydish said he knows COVID-19 is a concern for many people.

“We know that people who were in extremely stressed areas with COVID-19 more than ever need the shoeboxes for the children at Christmas and throughout the year. The shoeboxes are a symbol of hope and giving and that things will get better,” he said.

While some shoeboxes go to places in the United States, many go to locations in Africa and Asia.

Braydish said in 2019, 11 million shoeboxes were distributed.

He said shoeboxes are distributed throughout the year, but they need to be processed during December at eight collection sites, including Baltimore, Chicago, and Boone, North Carolina.

John Armstrong, area coordinator for the Greater Cleveland East area, said it’s great how much the local…

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