‘Operation’ would be glad of a few more shoeboxes

       Bolstered by a batch of bowlers, volunteers at the Calvary Worship Center were continuing to process shoeboxes by the thousand for the annual Operation Christmas Child charity effort this week.

Jaci Borden (left) and Ted Allison, among about 30 volunteers from the Calvary Worship Center, load more cardboard boxes containing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes into Jaci's trailer this week. She was about to drive them to the city-wide collection point on the Colorado Springs eastside.
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       People can continue to drop their self-stuffed boxes off at the church, 505 Castle Road, through Monday, Nov. 22, according to coordinator Sue McGinty.
       Operation Christmas Child is an international campaign. The shoebox gifts, containing such items as pencils, paper, books, apparel, jewelry, small toys and handmade crafts, will go to “more than 8 million children in 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty,” according to a press release.
       As McGinty's husband T.J. put it, “these boxes are going to kids who have nothing and even less.” The program is promoted as all volunteer, with no adminstrative costs charged.
       In preparation, many area volunteers throughout the year look for store specials to buy shoebox items in bulk, according to volunteers McGinty, Ellen Lawson and Jaci Borden. However, they were especially impressed by the generosity of about 10 bowlers and friends from the eastside's Harmony Bowl, led by Calvary member Rosi Schorer. The group has been steadily increasing its shoebox contributions over the past 16 years, rising to a total of 4,500 this year.
       Schorer urged that the focus not be placed on just herself, although others credit her for starting the effort. “I used to go to the bowling alley and I'd see other people bringing these projects home,” recalled fellow bowler Candy Thornton. “I said, 'I'm not doing anything. Can I help?'”
       For her part, Schorer said her inspiration comes from an austere upbringing in a German orphanage. Although her basic needs were met there, “I don't remember ever having toys,” she said. “I think that's why I have the passion for doing this.”
       Her family members now join in (husband Michael and daughters Olivia and Rachel). They, along with the bowlers and other friends, have been working toward the Operation Christmas Child shipment deadline over the past four to five weeks. “They come to my house on weekends and start packing boxes,” Schorer said.
       Another Westside church that helps the annual effort is the First Evangelical Free Church, 820 N. 30th St. Calvary Worship Center serves as one of several city-wide relay centers. There, the shoeboxes are put inside large cardboard boxes for shipment. There are 10 to 20 shoeboxes per cardboard box. “Some boxes are bigger than others,” Sue McGinty grinned.
       Volunteers then truck the cardboard boxes to an eastside church that in turn takes all the city donations to Denver. In Denver, Customs agents open the boxes, and

Volunteers at the Cavlary Workship Center stack donated Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in preparation for packing them into cardboard boxes such as the one at right (and as shown in photo above).
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check each shoebox to be sure it contains nothing “inappropriate,” McGinty said. After that, the boxes are shipped to their destinations. Most of those from this area will probably go to Mexico, Lawson said.

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