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Camp Fire Club drops off shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

From left, Camp Fire Club ‘Kooky Kats’ Taylor Kendall, Amie Konteh, Rebecca and Sydney Laliberte, Allison Kendall, Katie McFarlane, Camryn Zaborowski, Maddox Basiliere and Michayla Zaborowski drop off 14 gift-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child at the Amen! Christian Bookstore in Marysville on Nov. 23. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Camp Fire Club ‘Kooky Kats’ Taylor Kendall, Amie Konteh, Rebecca and Sydney Laliberte, Allison Kendall, Katie McFarlane, Camryn Zaborowski, Maddox Basiliere and Michayla Zaborowski drop off 14 gift-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child at the Amen! Christian Bookstore in Marysville on Nov. 23.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The Amen! Christian Bookstore at the intersection of State Avenue and Fourth Street received a special delivery on Saturday, Nov. 23, as a dozen children dropped off 14 gift-filled shoeboxes for the annual Operation Christmas Child campaign.

Sherry Bogus, one of the adult leaders of the “Kooky Kats” Camp Fire Club, explained that one of her fellow Camp Fire mothers had shared with the group how Operation Christmas Child collects shoeboxes packed with toys, school supplies and hygiene items, and then sends them to needy children around the world.

“Each of our kids was able to choose whether they were sending their gifts to a boy or a girl, and what age they wanted their kids to be,” said Bogus, who noted that the Kooky Kats assembled their shoeboxes within two weeks. “It not only taught them how to make plans and follow through on them, but I think they also learned a lot about the differences between America and other countries. Our kids were surprised by some of the things that children in other countries can’t take for granted. Here, if you want clean drinking water, you just turn on the tap, but there are parts of the world where it’s not that simple.”

“My dad comes from Africa, and I knew that he didn’t have much to play with as a kid,” said Amie Konteh, one of the kids of the Kooky Kats.

“There are people who don’t have running water or toys or electricity, so we wanted to help them have fun,” said fellow Kooky Kat kid Katie McFarlane, who figured out what size of T-shirt to send her 5-year-old recipient by having her own 5-year-old sister try on shirts.

The rest of the Kooky Kats agreed that it was important to help other children enjoy some of the same benefits that they themselves could scarcely live without, to the point that they wished they could do more.

“It was hard to decide on just a few things to get them,” Camryn Zaborowski said.

“There were so many choices that I just stuck to the basics,” said Camryn’s sister, Michayla Zaborowski.

“And there was only a little bit of space in the shoebox,” Taylor Kendall said.

Sue Leber, manager of the Amen! Christian Bookstore, deemed it a delight to receive so many gift-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child in a single drop-off.

“What delightful, enthusiastic children,” Leber said on Nov. 23, as she anticipated that she was on target to collect approximately 1,200 such shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child by Monday, Nov. 25, which would roughly equal her total for last year. “When the economy was better, we were collecting as many as 3,000 shoeboxes a year, but this is pretty good for this economic climate. We must have collected more than 25,000 shoeboxes over the past 15 years, and I feel privileged that I can collect them for Operation Christmas Child and be the one to say, ‘Thank you.’”

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