"In the Charleston area alone, 10,856 shoeboxes were collected last year," she said. "The number of boxes collected in West Virginia last year was 106,301."
The organization hopes to increase the number of boxes collected every year in order to reach more children, she said. Shoeboxes will go to kids in more than 130 countries this year. Aside from delivering boxes, volunteers are based throughout the world to offer children a 12-week class called "The Greatest Journey" in order to teach them about Christianity.
"The people are trained and it's amazing how many people volunteer," she said.
A semi-truck is parked next to Rand Church of the Nazarene where it is ready to be loaded with shoeboxes for the trip to Boone, N.C., where boxes will be checked for any inappropriate items such as anything that could break or melt. If an item is removed, it is replaced by something else, Caldwell said. No items that are war related may be included in a box.
The following is a list of suggested items that would be appropriate for filling a shoebox:
Hygiene items: wash cloth, bar soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush.
School supplies: pencils, pencil sharpeners, paper, crayons, markers.
Toys: stuffed animals, small toy balls, bowls and cups, marbles, jacks, jump rope, small games, puzzles.
Other items: flashlight and batteries, fishing line and hooks to make a fishing pole, tools such as hammers, hats, gloves.
Shoeboxes may be filled and dropped off at the church through Monday. Include $7 for shipping. Children also enjoy receiving pictures of the person sending the box as well as a letter.
Go to samaritanspurse.org for more details about the shoebox ministry and to learn how to participate online.
Rand Church of the Nazarene is located at 305 Davidson Ave. in Rand. Shoeboxes may be dropped off 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. Those who choose to gift wrap a box should wrap the lid separately so that it may be removed for checking the contents. For more information, call the church at 304-925-7336.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.