Rebecca Woodland

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - November 16, 2005
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Rebecca Woodland hopes to be over her head in shoeboxes this week - not shoes for herself, but shoeboxes filled with gifts for children in need.

The national program sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, called Operation Christmas Child and affectionately known locally as the Aloha Shoebox Project, is in full gear this week, Nov. 14 -21.

More than 5,600 boxes from Hawaii were sent last year to children in Bosnia, Serbia, the Philippines and other needy areas. The collection is always held the week before Thanksgiving.

Woodland started the program seven years ago after her mother in Canada told her about it.

“The gifts do get to the children,” the Honolulu resident assures. “The first time I sent a box, I got a letter from a little girl in Bosnia who was so surprised that anyone cared about her. All the 10-year-old wanted was peace.”

Woodland corresponded with the girl until she changed schools. “She’s the reason I do it,” notes Woodland. “It made such a huge difference in her life to keep going and to go to school. She said she took the school supplies and shared them with her classmates as they didn’t have any either.

“The program has grown exponentially,” adds Woodland. Clubs, schools, and community organizations have found out about the project through word of mouth.

“People always make it a point to do it the following year, once they’ve made a donation,” she explains.

For the first time, Price Busters stores on Oahu are working together with Operation Christmas Child. People can bring an empty shoebox or purchase a plastic shoebox at Price Busters and fill it up with items from a list of school supplies, hygiene products and small toys. The items on the list are available at Price Busters and are geared for different aged children. Completed gift shoeboxes may be left at the store with a $5 check for shipping payable to Samaritan’s Purse. The stores also carry detailed brochures about the project.

“It’s so fun to see the creativity people put into it,” she says. Shoebox tops need to be wrapped separately and rubber banded as the box needs to be opened and checked for security purposes. Or donors can bring completed gift shoeboxes to the Matson container that will be the collection point at Central Union Church, 1660 S. Beretania St., between 3 and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and 1-6 p.m. Sunday from Nov. 14 to 21.

For more information, call 295-3027 or log onto

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