Final Phase of the Love-in-a-Shoebox Project

Contributed by Vera Chin

TAMBUNAN: After the earlier outreach to two hostels in Kota Marudu in August and three hostels in Kiulu in September, the outreach team of St Simon Catholic Church’s (SSC) Ministry of Pastoral Care for the Needy visited Toboh Hostel, here, on October 22 to deliver the last of the gift shoeboxes.

The children of Toboh Hostel Tambunan opening their gift shoeboxes. – pictures by Joan Pang

The three hostels in Kiulu visited on September 24 were Borombon Hostel, Pukak Hostel and the San Damiano hostel. At each of these hostels, the team had the opportunity to mingle with the children before distributing the gift shoeboxes which had been prepared by the SSC Sunday School children as well as generous parishioners who had provided in cash and kind.

The ministry’s head, Vera Chin, and another outreach member posing under the project’s banner.

At the Pukak hostel run by the Good Shepherd Mission, the 30 primary school kids gave an exuberant song and dance performance and later invited the team members to join in.

The ministry members also brought rice, dried food and other essential items donated by SSC parishioners as well as some light refreshments.

At San Damiano hostel run by the FSIC, Sr Jane welcomed the team to their hostel which accommodates 80 secondary school-going girls.

Team member Mary Ann Chew presented a talk on “Building your Faith” as part of the programme. It was followed by a simple but delicious lunch where Sr Jane provided local delicacies.

A total of 32 people participated in the final outreach to Toboh hostel, including some Sunday School students with their teacher. This provided them firsthand experience to see who the recipients of their gift shoeboxes were.

The hostel students performing for the outreach team.

Sr Doris of the Franciscan Sisters introduced the 63 children staying there who welcomed us with touching rendition of songs. According to her, some of these children come from as far as Nabawan, a considerable distance from their home.

Brand new pairs of rubber slippers for each child donated by parishioner Jessie Ting.

In total, for this Love-in-a-Shoebox project, 281 shoeboxes were handed out to six rural hostels. Each box had been filled with various stationery items, small toys, prayer cards, personal notes and toiletries.

“To witness the joy on the children’s faces when they opened their boxes was a humbling experience and a good reminder that we should not take anything we have for granted,” Vera said.

Some of the thank you cards from the hostel children.

The team expressed their heartfelt gratitude to all those who took part one way or another in the Jubilee Year of Mercy Project, especially the Sunday School children who put in so much love and care into preparing their boxes and finally, to the wonderful children in the rural hostels who showed us that truly, God lives in each and every one of us.

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