Christmas Shoe Boxes are Ready to Go!

I had my ‘charitable’ afternoon yesterday. I got the shoe boxes packed, sealed and ready to be dropped off in November. I had enough time to get eleven Rosaries made, and packed some items to send to the people we help through Unbound. I still owe all five of them letters but I think a surprise treat will earn me some forgiveness for being late.

My daughter even got interested in the Samaritan’s Purse annual shoe box drive this year and had a great time finding the perfect items to put into her box. She is already planning her shoe box for next year.

There is still time to brighten some child’s Christmas with probably the first real Christmas they have had. Just google Samaritan’s Purse – Christmas Shoe Box Collection and you will find a multitude of information. The cost is seven dollars per shoe box you send which helps the organization offset the steep costs of shipping them overseas.

Interested in ‘adopting’ a child or elder overseas, https://www.unbound.org/ Unbound is the link to check out. We have been doing this for 15 years and it has made a real difference in our lives. You don’t just send support donations to a vast group of people but actually ‘adopt’ the child or elder of your choice and through letters and pictures develop an amazing friendship with the child/elder and their family. If you go on-line, you can see the pictures of the children or elders who are in need of a sponsor. Charity does start at home but, sometimes, charity needs an airmail stamp and a prayer!

Unbound?

A few years ago, a representative from the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (Now called Unbound) came to our parish with folders and bios of 200 children overseas in need of a sponsor. Much to their surprise, between our two parishes, they were only able to find 100 families/people willing to make a commitment to these deserving children.

The way this works is that you can chose a child from any participating children and let them surprise   you with one on the waiting list. The cost is anywhere from $30 to $35 a month to help support the child, give aid to the family, and see that the child is able and prepared to attend the local schools in their country. The great part is that you get regular letters from the child in response to the letters you write to them. Not to worry! No language barriers as someone at their office provides the original letter along with a translation. You also get a picture which is updated annually.

My family has been participating in this program for over twelve years now. Our first child was Lydia who lived with her parents and four siblings in Kenya. We met her when she was eight and enjoyed learning about her dreams and her family for eight years. Unfortunately, she suddenly became ill and by the time they found transportation of the local hospital, she had died. I didn’t realize how much I had loved this little girl until I got that phone call from the organization.

I asked for another girl but the office mixed up the request and we sponsored a growing boy in Guatemala named Wilson. We have been in touch very regularly and know all about his schooling, his dreams, and his family. You have to remember that the monthly stipend goes very far in those countries and it helps grow the child and their family.

We decided to add another child to our overseas sponsorship and along came Melanie from Colombia, South America. We helped her and enjoyed her stories and news for only four years. Her family’s prospects improved and they moved away from the mission base.

Still wanting a girl, we were assigned Juana from Guatemala. She was around four years old when we began helping her but being chosen for the program is an extended family and friends event so whenever her mother couldn’t take the time to write, a neighbor or friend made sure we knew how Juana was doing.

To take Melanie’s place, we were provided with a young girl, also in Colombia, South America, named Maria. She is active in sports and loves school, especially art.

At this point, we had two boys and one girl and couldn’t resist and opted to take on helping one, more child and added Enock to our long-distance family. He is only six but his father writes long and frequent letters about how he goes and and is always proud to say that “Enock eats the books and drinks the knowledge’ at school. We share stories about our respective families have grown very close.

Well, my stories came about because Unbound currently has 2,155 young adults who need sponsors. The world, today, is such that if these young people don’t get help and an education, they will not have much hope for a better life for themselves or their families.

Yes, $30 is seemingly a lot but when you consider this amount in another country can help clothe, feed, and school a child besides helping the family in other ways, it is a small sacrifice for us with a huge impact on the children.

Interested in making a change in the world? You can contact Unbound at 800-875-6564 or go online at unbound.org/students. It’s a great way to make a friend and prayer partner for life.