As part of Operation Christmas Child, staff members at Cooney & Conway collected over 40 boxes stuffed with toys, school supplies, personal items, and other small presents. The boxes are then delivered to children in poor or developing countries around the world. This year, the shoeboxes compiled by Cooney & Conway were delivered to children in the West African country of Togo.
The program, run through the humanitarian aid organization Samaritan's Purse, expects to deliver shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries this year alone.
PHOTOS: Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child has been around for years and Cooney & Conway’s involvement began after legal assistant Kirstin Goodrich was exposed to gift-giving program on a mission trip to Haiti in 2014. This year, she commandeered a conference room for an afternoon as volunteers packed up the boxes with toys and other gifts which had been collected for weeks.
“It is easy to forget what people in other parts of the world go through daily,” Kirstin said. “It’s nice to know we were able to make them that happy for a little while. I am so very happy that my co-workers share the want to bring happiness to these children and they have the same heart-warming feelings I do.”
A small country in West Africa, Togo has a population of 7.9 million people, 40 percent of which are under the age of 14. Since the start of Operation Christmas Child, over 1.5 million children have received a shoebox with toys and gifts. Overall, shoeboxes collected in 2017 will be delivered to 310,080 children in Togo.
“The statistics in Togo alone show there are so many other children that have not received boxes on Christmas and need a smile,” Kirstin said. “That makes me want to continue this tradition and make more than 41 boxes next year!
“Obviously, we don’t know these kids personally, but something as simple as spending an hour that day in November putting the shoeboxes together, and we were able to give them a little joy around the holidays. I am forever grateful to all the participants for that.”