My Shoebox Experience

by Kathy Rentino | Volunteer

Much as the children were anxiously waiting for this time, I myself was excited to see the actual shoebox unfold right before my very eyes. I was imagining being one of the recipients – and how I long for this day to come. And there it was! Alas! The children were there, much earlier than the set time. And to my amazement, several kids even came hours prior – they travelled from different villages.

Just as the beautiful sunset in Boracay Island can’t be captured in a single click, their candid smiles can’t be captured behind the camera as they received and opened their gift from a friend they haven’t met in another country. It wasn’t just about what’s inside the box, that gesture is to let them know that behind their school walls, there is someone applauding their efforts in coming to school despite their challenges.

In another school for children with special needs and disability, I can’t help but commend the parents and the workers for keeping up with the great responsibility before them. It’s not an easy life but it doesn’t reflect on their faces. Their warmth and sincere appreciation of seeing the shoeboxes given to their kids were something of great importance – someone out there cares for them.

We’re glad that ICOC Kalibo was chosen to be a channel of God’s blessings – I’m proud to be part of it. Connecting with the locals is one of the things I really enjoy since we moved here in the province of Aklan a year ago. The shoebox project brought us into the forefront. It was my first time to experience this program and I hope this is only the beginning. The school principal and the teachers have nothing to say but gratitude - thanking God that they were chosen, among the many schools here. It was also a great time to share the very heart of Jesus.

The Shoebox Project was the initiative of HOPE worldwide San Diego beginning 2009. Since then, it catered to thousands of poor children in different areas in the Philippines.