The Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive has come out with its results, and they're better than last year's numbers. Eileen Warthe is area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Portage and the surrounding area and sums it up.
"The number of boxes that came in at the mall is 1,611 boxes. Since then, we still have boxes dropping off," says Warthe. "I think we've had an additional 70. I am sure when all is said and done between the boxes that were packed online and all these strays, we just might be just shy of our 1,800 goal."
She says last year's amount hit almost 1,500, and several factors could explain why the amounts were different, including increased distance from the pandemic, which might be partly be responsible for people being more jovial this year, as well.
"It's that time of year," notes Warthe. "So, people say, 'Let's pack a shoe box.' We've had lots of new people who packed shoeboxes that have never done one before. Also, as the word has been getting out, we had the mall decorated earlier this year. Everyone that's gone walking might have thought, 'Oh, what's going on there?' So, it was a good reason to pop in once on the doors were open last Wednesday."
Warthe adds some people hadn't yet packed a box, and the thought came to do so, or even fill one up for the first time after seeing the displays.
"I would just like again to say thank you to our listeners for packing boxes," adds Warthe. "If you've got a stray box that you should have dropped off, you can drop it off at my house, 126 2nd St. NW, or you can go online and you can still pack a few box online. So, it's still not too late for anyone that would like to pack a shoebox."
She notes she wishes to ensure she thanks Portage's businesses including Portage transport, adding there's almost too many people to recall.
"Without them, we couldn't do this, and we're blessed to have a community with businesses who get behind us, who've got boxes available for their customers, and lots of good things that happen in this community."
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