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Norton Family Organizes Shoebox Share Project for Hurricane Victims

Boxes of toys to be delivered to children affected by Hurricane Sandy by Leavitt family.

Though Hurricane Sandy brought destruction along the east coast two weeks ago, people like Jessie Leavitt hope to bring a little joy to affected families this holiday season.

With the idea stemming from her 10-year-old son Trenton, Leavitt organized the Shoebox Share Project, which will send gifts, toys and treats to children whose lives were uprooted by Sandy. 

Leavitt's family has already donated bags of clothes, and she noted that many organizations are collecting toothbrushes, soaps, shampoos and other toiletries. Her son, however, thought about the victims’ losses from another angle.

“He felt bad that so many kids probably lost all their toys, and their parents will have so much on their minds this holiday season, trying to re-build,” Leavitt said. “He wants to help the kids specifically, giving them boxes of things they don't necessarily need, but rather fun things, to take their minds off the devastation.”

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Leavitt has family in the Ocean City area, including her son’s grandparents, aunt and cousins. Though they are safe, many of her family’s neighbors and friends were not so lucky.

“This benefit is personal, as we do have family in the areas hard-hit, but it is also a reminder to us that we were fortunate to still have a roof over our heads, power, warm food and beds - natural disaster can help to any of us at any time,” Leavitt said.

The Leavitt family hopes to collect at least 100 boxes. They will be personally delivering the boxes to shelters serving those in need the weekend of Dec. 8.

To participate in the Shoebox Share Project, wrap a shoebox and lid separately in holiday paper. You then fill the box with things like toy cars, crayons, Legos, Playdough, jump rope, makeup, hard candy and more. People are asked not to send used items, perishables, liquids, medicines, fragiles or war-related items. Next you label the box as a gift for a boy or a girl and add an age range. Finally, you drop off the box to either Trinity Bar & Restaurant or Frenzy. The deadline is Dec. 1. 

“Through this project, local families have the opportunity to bring some joy and cheer to the lives of kids affected by this terrible devastation and at the same time, teach their own children about giving and sharing and thinking of others,” Leavitt said. “After all, isn't that what this time of year is all about?”

For more information or to schedule a pickup contact Leavitt at 508-415-6621 or jkltweety@hotmail.com.

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