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Shoebox drive benefits seniors

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 1, 2010
  • East County
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LAKEWOOD RANCH — Christmastime often is a season centered around children. But this holiday season, two East County women are working to make sure senior citizens in need are remembered, as well.

Maribeth Phillips and Alice Hein are asking East County residents to decorate empty shoeboxes and fill them with personal hygiene and other items for senior citizens in need.

The drive will culminate with the Community Shoe Box Reception event from 3-6 p.m., Dec. 12, at The Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch. Attendees should bring their wrapped shoebox filled with items such as soaps, books, playing cards and toothbrushes. Guests also may make a $20 donation if they don’t have time to shop, but would like to participate.

Each donation earns participants a chance to win raffle prizes, such as gift certificates to local restaurants, haircuts, massages and more, as well as appetizers and a free drink. A 50/50 raffle benefiting the food bank also will be held during the event. Live entertainment will be provided by musicians from Lakewood Christian Church.

“We think it’s for a fabulous cause,” Phillips said of the shoebox drive and collection event. “What I love about it is to see so many people come together to make it happen.”

Hein agreed.

“It’s such a special day,” she said. “It brings (everyone’s efforts) together and puts everyone in the holiday spirit. It’s a nice jumpstart for the holidays.”

Phillips and Hein will use financial donations to make more shoeboxes before they are delivered to homebound seniors through Meals on Wheels PLUS.

“This shoebox is likely to be the only gift (many of these seniors) receive during the holidays,” Phillips said.

Thanks to the support of local businesses, the women already had shopped for more than 150 shoeboxes by Thanksgiving.

“We try to get as much as we can to fill the boxes,” Phillips said.

New this year, the Family Career and Community Leaders of America Club at Lakewood Ranch High School is working with local elementary schools to have children there make handmade holiday cards to distribute with the boxes. Students at Nolan Middle School also are helping with collection efforts.

Phillips and Hein started their shoebox collection effort in 2006 with just their family and friends. That year, the group made 37 boxes, and the effort has continued to expand ever since with nearly 1,000 shoeboxes collected last year.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Community Shoe Box Reception
WHEN: 3-6 p.m., Dec. 12
WHERE: Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch
BENEFITS: Seniors in need in Manatee County
COST: A shoebox filled with personal hygiene and other items for senior citizens or a $20 donation to Meals on Wheels
CONTACT: The Polo Grill, 782-0899


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