2017-12-07 / News

‘Love and Care in a Shoebox” begins annual drive to serve Wilkes seniors

The 13th annual Washington-Wilkes “Operation Love and Care in a Shoebox,” is up and running and volunteers are already collecting Christmas gift boxes and bags with the goal of personally presenting one to every senior in every elder care facility in Wilkes County.

“I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for 13 years,” said Margie Burke, the charity’s founder. “I’ve had such wonderful help from the community over the years and from volunteers. Last year we were able to give out 125 shoeboxes and gift bags, and reached nearly every one of our nursing home residents, personal care home residents, adult day care clients, and even hospital patients and many shut-ins.”

What started out in 2004 as an individual effort, she said, has grown into a county-wide effort involving church groups, civic groups, companies, and individuals who helped in collecting and filling shoe boxes for the community.

“I’m always amazed that it works out, but it does,” Burke said. “Everybody puts their shoeboxes and gift bags together and gets them to me just in time, and our volunteers and I take Christmas to our neighbors in PruittHealth Washington, Harper’s Personal Care Home, Southern Manor, The Tignall House, and Echols Personal Care.

As always, the annual outreach can be achieved only through the help of generous people in our community, she said. “We have such wonderful folks helping, and this year we’ll need more help than ever.” The deadline to turn in shoeboxes is December 16.

A gift box or bag isn’t a major investment, she said. “Just $8 or $10 will fill a box nicely, and if you’re a savvy shopper it can be done for even less,” she added. “I collect ‘stuff’ for my boxes all year.”

To pack your shoe box gift, Burke said, “find a nice gift bag or an empty shoe box, or get a plastic box or gift bag at a dollar store. You can wrap the shoe boxes, lid separately, but wrapping is not required.” Fill it with comb, brushes, socks, personal care items, large print word finds or puzzle books, costume jewelry, handkerchiefs, flashlights, etc. Have fun shopping and filling your box or bag.

Boxes can be dropped off to Margie Burke at Bi-Lo or call 706-318-0832 for pickup.

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