Residents of Shell Point Retirement Community collected 398 Christmas shoeboxes filled with gifts to benefit Operation Christmas Child (OCC) following a donation rally held in Nov. 2015. This marks the 15th year that Shell Point has participated in the holiday charity drive.
Contributions toward the shoebox project included toys, school supplies, accessories, and many other small, non-perishable gifts that a young child might like to receive for Christmas. “The response was overwhelming,” said Bonnie Bishop, one of four Shell Point resident volunteers who coordinated this year’s contributions. “We started the whole process by placing 400 empty shoeboxes to be filled in the back of The Village Church at Shell Point, which sponsored the drive. People embraced the opportunity enthusiastically, and the boxes just disappeared. They all were returned filled a few weeks later.”
OCC will deliver these gifts, together with others collected from around the nation, to children who have been affected by war, poverty, natural disasters, and other crises in more than 150 countries. “Many of these children have never received a Christmas present before, so we carefully select what to put into each box,” said Bishop. “We want to make sure this will be a very special holiday for them. The shoebox space fills up fast!”
A crowd of 40 residents gathered at The Village Church in mid-Nov. to assemble the shoeboxes. “We held a ‘stuffing party’ to prepare the boxes, and I’m thankful for the helpful hands and cheerful hearts of the resident volunteers who participated,” said Bill White, another Shell Point resident and holiday drive coordinator. “What a privilege it is to serve so many children worldwide. We hope these gifts will be a blessing to them.”
About Shell Point Retirement Community
Shell Point Retirement Community, founded in 1968, is a nonprofit continuing care retirement community located in Fort Myers, Florida. Shell Point offers independent retirement living, assisted living, and skilled nursing for its 2,400 residents in an active, resort-style environment. Lifestyle amenities include deep-water boating access with free dockage, a championship 18-hole golf course, and other recreational and educational activities. To learn more, visit www.shellpoint.org or call 1-800-780-1131.
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