Community Outreach and Resources (COAR) has 687 shoeboxes to fill for this year’s Head Start Gift Box Drive.
The boxes are for at-risk children in the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford areas, according to the Facebook event set up by members of COAR.
COAR volunteers sat at a table outside the Eagle’s Nest last week in an effort to get students involved with the project. So far they have gotten about 100 students to lend a hand.
“Most of the kids aren’t getting Christmas presents and it’s so easy to spend $10 to fill a box,” said senior Sara Krechel, who is a member of COAR. “It has to be [687 shoeboxes] or someone’s not getting a present.”
All of the COAR volunteers plan to hand deliver the gift boxes to the children at their schools once the collection is over. Cedric Rucker, the dean of Student Life, will be joining the volunteers, dressed up as Santa Claus to distribute the gifts for the children.
“If you could just see the looks on their faces-it’s uplifting and heartwarming,” said Rucker. “It truly represents the community spirit. It brings a bit of cheer for the broad community that is Fredericksburg.”
This gift box drive resembles Operation Christmas Child, done by Samaritan’s Purse. According to the Samaritan’s Purse Website, they sent shoeboxes to eight million children last year and have sent shoeboxes to over 130 countries since 1993.
Unlike Operation Christmas Child, however, the Head Start Gift Box Drive has no religious affiliation. They even ask that no religious items be put in the boxes.
Although COAR has finished signing up volunteers at the Nest, they still need student assistance. On Nov. 19 volunteers will be holding a shoebox wrapping party in the Dome Room from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.