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Shoebox packages show care
Volunteers spend the day filling care packages for those in need.
More than 100 volunteers came from around the diocese last Saturday to assemble care packages using empty shoeboxes. Volunteers decorated and filled the shoeboxes with hygiene and grooming items, nonperishable snacks, and small gifts for Catholic Charities clients around the diocese, including senior citizens, refugees, prisoners, the homeless and food pantry visitors.
The donated items filling the boxes were provided by local parishes and businesses, including the National Grocers warehouse. Many empty shoeboxes were provided by local stores including Loehmans and DSW.
Sally O’Dwyer, Catholic Charities vice president of community services, said the day was a great opportunity for Catholics of all ages to give a bit of their time for a good cause.
“They may not be able to volunteer on a regular basis, but they can do something meaningful,” she said. “This gives people a chance to support Catholic Charities and to learn about what we do and people really enjoy it.”
Debbie Spagnoli, a volunteer from St. Mary Parish in Alexandria, hopes the people who receive the shoeboxes will feel comforted by the gift.
“Basically, this will be a message of hope that they are not forgotten and we are there for them in their moment of need,” she said.
For Emma Farrar, a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Alexandria, the project was a good way to fulfill her confirmation volunteer requirements. Before attending Saturday’s event, she was able to assemble 20 boxes on her own, thanks to support from her family and friends and money she raised by making and selling key chains at school for 50 cents each.
Leonard Triyono, a parishioner of Our Lady of Angels Parish in Woodbridge, said the volunteer event was a good way to spend time with his wife and children while helping a good cause. “It’s a way of teaching the kids to share their time and treasure,” he said. “We feel blessed and feel we should give. I wish we could give more, but this is a good place to start.”
According to Katie Walker, director of communications for Catholic Charities, the goal of the day was to pack 1,000 shoe boxes. More than 1,260 shoeboxes were packed by the end of the day.