Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Shoebox ministry thrives despite pandemic


By Rev. Dan Eischen

For many years, Westville-First in Adair County has sponsored a ministry of providing wrapped shoe boxes filled with toys, toiletries, hats and gloves, school supplies, and small toys to at-need children in the Westville school identified by the school administration.

Westville-First was closed from mid-March to mid-July, and it is now closed again due to low attendance because of the pandemic. Even so, members of the church put in extra effort to keep their annual Shoe Box Ministry active for the holidays.

Mary Bagby, who serves the church as chair of the Administrative Council, chairs the project. Although the shoe boxes are distributed to the school right before Christmas each year, members of the church work throughout the year donating shoe boxes and items to fill them. In December, members of the United Methodist Women meet to fill and wrap the shoe boxes.

The number of filled shoe boxes varies each year but according to Bagby, this has been a “banner year” for the shoe box ministry. Members donated enough to fill almost 100 shoe boxes, including a large number of gloves, 25 battery operated toothbrushes, and around 75 knitted hats donated – more than any previous year.


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