Shoeboxes can make a difference for kids worldwide

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Fred and Tressie Fike, standing, explain how the Shoebox Ministry works with the actual boxes. (Monte Turner/Mineral Independent)

“When a child opens this box, what would they like to see?” said Pam Elder of the Alberton Community Church.

Such was the main topic of Cabin Fever Community Potluck Saturday, Feb. 8, at the 4-H Building on the Mineral County Fairgrounds in Superior.

The Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. It was originally created by the late Rev. Billy Graham, and now his son, Franklin, oversees it.

Their mission is to provide shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, socks, T-shirts, sewing kits and school supplies around the world as a means of reaching out to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

They can even be delivered to the children in Mineral County, if requested.

After the potluck, Fred and Tressie Fike of the Superior Community Church Shoebox Ministry were introduced. The Fikes have been involved with this project for many years.

Actual shoeboxes work but hard plastic ones are available if ordered through the Samaritan’s Purse website. People are asked to fill age/gender appropriate boxes for boys or girls 2-4 years old; 5-9 and then 10-14. $9 is also requested to cover the shipping which goes to Denver and then to its final destination.

“Many people aren’t comfortable with picking out goodies for the children,” said Fred. “They’d rather write a check to help with miscellaneous costs which helps very much as it buys extra gifts or covers additional postage.”

Robert McGinnis, also of Superior Community Church, said that if requested, you can find out what country and child received your box.

Shoeboxes can be dropped off any time before mid-November at either church, Tressie said. “These are distributed by Christmas and we have some people do a box or two a month. Or just one box and bring it over so they won’t forget.”

She welcomes phone calls at 822-2181 for any questions.

“About 15 years ago when we started doing this and we got to 25 boxes we were thrilled! Last year we delivered 900,” said Elder.

Amy Lommen, with the Mineral County Health Department, shared the latest update on the Zero to Five Initiative which is a 6-year grant to stress and educate the importance of the early childhood development years.

She and her committee are working with all three schools, young families and guardians of children from birth to 5 years of age exploring what they need to ensure that their youngest have the best care, nutrition and love.

The group of people had many questions still at the end of the evening, so Amy said to call her at 207-4020.

The next and last Cabin Fever Community Potluck will be on at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14 at hosted by the Montana Wilderness Association and the Great Burn Conservation Alliance discussing the incredible outdoor resources and recreation in Mineral County.

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