Giving multiplied with back-to-school sales

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 12, 2022

As the new school year approaches, Lisa Taylor is making use of back-to-school prices to purchase gifts and essential items for children in need around the world.

Taylor is collecting school supplies, along with hygiene items and fun toys, to pack in shoeboxes. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver these gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries.

“My daughters and I like to shop for school supplies that feature characters and designs that the children would like and share with their friends,” Taylor, of Lawrence County, said. “School supplies are important because the kids who receive the shoeboxes need them to grow their creative minds and further their education. We also like picking out nice outfits that they can wear to school, as well as a cuddly animal or blanket.”

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For many children, access to these simple items can change a child’s life.

This was the case for Mariya Tatarin, who shared her shoebox story with Ironton residents last summer. Growing up in Ukraine in a studio apartment, her Christian parents worked hard, but struggled to provide for their family of eight.

Tatarin had never received a Christmas gift, other than a banana or an orange and candy at church, until she opened a shoebox filled with gift items including shoes, toys, school supplies, soap, toothbrushes and crayons that fueled her creativity.

She described her experience opening the shoebox.

“I’ve not seen that much color in my life; it was exploding with color!” Tatarin said. “My parents were so excited to see toothbrushes because we would use them for one or two years-until the bristles curled over!”

After being bullied for years by the other students at school and having no friends, Tatarin shared, “I was ready to give up.”

The Operation Christmas Child shoebox changed that when she took some of her shoebox gifts to school to show her classmates.

Tatarin exclaimed, “Everybody wanted to see! I had an extra package of erasers to share with everyone. I was able to show the love to my classmates and forgive them for the way they treated me. Everyone wanted to now be friends with me.”

For more information about how you can change a child’s life by packing a simple shoebox, call Southern Ohio Area Coordinator Sherrie Klingaman at 740-395-6468, attend the Project Leader Workshop at First Baptist Church in Ironton from 10 a.m.-noon or visit