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1 November 2005

Guatemala Children's Shoe Box Program

Pastor Alvaro Perdomo hands out gift shoe boxes to the children at Shalom Christian School in Guatemala City's "Rat's Nest" neighborhood.

By Randy Wilson
JSU News Bureau

Jacksonville State University's History Club and the Phi Alpha Theta honor society are accepting donations for their annual drive to collect Christmas shoe boxes for needy children in Guatemala. The deadline for submitting a shoe box will be December 15.

"This is a very worthy project," said Dr. George Lauderbaugh, faculty advisor of Phi Alpha Theta. "This may be the only gift that a majority of these children will receive this year."

Any one who would like to participate in the project may assemble a shoe box filled with personal hygiene items, school supplies, and toys that any child would enjoy.

The first step in assembling a shoe box is to decide the age and gender of the child that you would like to receive your shoe box. The groups are boys and girls ages 5-9, 10-13, and 14-16.

Suggested items to put into the shoe boxes include age appropriate toys such as small cars, balls, harmonicas, dolls, stuffed animals, card games, and yoyos.

However, please do not include used toys, toy guns, knives, or any other toy weapons. Also, please do not send breakable toys such as porcelain dolls, tea sets, or china.

School supplies may also be placed in the shoe boxes and are highly prized by the children. School supply items may include pens, pencils with sharpener, crayons with coloring books, writing tablets, inkpad sets, and colored chalk.

Personal hygiene products may also be sent. Suggested items include toothbrushes with toothpaste, bar soap, combs, hairbrushes, washcloths, towels, and deodorants. However, please do not send liquids in breakable containers, such as perfume or shampoo, or medicines of any kind.

Other items that may be sent include ball caps, hard candy, lollipops, non-breakable sun glasses, new socks and underwear, and costume jewelry. However, please do not send perishable food items or candy, such as candy bars, that will melt during the journey.

The last step is to wrap the box in decorative paper and mark it with appropriate age and gender. However, the top and bottom must be wrapped separately so that customs agents at the border may open the box if so desired.

The shoe boxes donated to JSU will be given to retired Marshall Center engineer Homer Wilson of Huntsville, who takes Christmas gifts to children in Guatemala. The shoe box drive is an extension of the Alabama-Guatemala Partners program.

The Partners' mission is to work together as citizen volunteers from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States to improve the lives of people across the hemisphere. The shoe box drive is just one of many ways they accomplish the mission.

"The members of the Phi Alpha Theta and the History Club have worked diligently to make the shoe box drive a success," said Dr, Lauderbaugh. "We delivered over 200 shoe boxes last year and we need everyone's help to surpass that total."

Phi Alpha Theta and the History Club hope to collect more than 100 shoe boxes during this year's drive.

Completed shoe boxes may be dropped off in Room 309 Stone Center. For more information about the shoe box drive or to arrange for pickup, call Dr. George Lauderbaugh at (256)782-8044 or send e-mail to

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