Remembering Those In Need

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As I check my calendar, I am amazed at how full the end of the year has suddenly become. Two more trips – Churchill, Manitoba, and a Caribbean cruise; a baby shower to get ready for (my first grandchild is due in January); and, of course the holidays. I am also reminded to send off charity boxes to those less fortunate.

Several years ago I wrote an article entitled “What’s Your Priority? Helping Those in Need.” I was a writer/editor for the U.S. Postal Service at the time and as much as I was writing about the then-new Priority Mail Shoe Box, I also wanted to bring attention to a charity I felt readers could help – Appalachian Outreach. One of their programs asks donors to fill a shoebox with needed items for the poor in rural West Virginia.

Since then I have mailed countless boxes of new and gently used baby clothes, toiletries and such simple items as socks, gloves and umbrellas. It just feels better for me to purchase, wrap and ship items instead of writing a check.

If you take the notion, you may want to fill a Baby Bonus Box for newborns or become a Shoebox Santa to help needy adults.

Baby Bonus Boxes
Items needed:
Diaper rash ointment
Baby powder
Small stuffed animals
Receiving blankets
Shoes and socks
Bottles and nipples
Teething rings

Shoebox Santas
Items needed:
Soap (bar or liquid)
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Denture cleaner and adhesive
Mouthwash and dental floss
Razors and blades
Shaving cream and aftershave
Hairbrushes or combs
Nail clippers
Corn plasters
Hand lotion
Notepads, pens, and pencils
Large print cards
Magnifying glasses
Folding umbrellas

You can also contact your local women’s shelter or homeless shelter and ask what they need. Many want the small hotel shampoo, conditioner, lotion and shower gel bottles that are unopened.

For more information

To order Priority Mail boxes go to or ask at your local Post Office. They are free-of-charge.

Appalachian Outreach Inc., 13 West View Lane, Glen Dale, WV 26038-1382; (304) 845-2762.