Jack told us the Shoebox project was created to encourage children of the dump in Chinandega, Nicaragua to get an education to take children out of the dump. So far 10,000 kids have graduated from high school, 27 are in college and one has a master’s degree and works for a shipping company.
Shoeboxes are awarded to children who have good grades, good attendance and a recommendation from teachers.
Rotary is making a difference with this project. This year they expect 2,200 boxes to be assembled in Iowa and trucked to Nicaragua in time for Christmas delivery.
Jack told us how he got a fire truck from Stow after the Mayor heard of the need. The cost was $1 and the trucking company cost was $2,500 for shipping. Stow sent two firemen to train on the use of the truck. Because this truck had a 500 gallon water tank, it was able to save three children from a house fire. Jack has also sent three ambulances to Nicaragua.
Shoeboxes are customized for boys and girls and by age. They don’t contain baby power, towels, diapers or clippers. Used tee shirts are now being sent where they are used to make diapers.
This will be Jack’s twelfth year traveling to Nicaragua and he noted that while the President of Nicaragua has had a rocky relationship with the USA, the President’s wife was a firm supporter of Rotary.
Jack talked about strategies to keep the cost of a shoebox below $35. Often Walmart and Kmart, with two months advance notice, will offer lower prices and even donate items. Staples and Marcs often have very low prices for items. Large soap dishes can be purchased three for a dollar. Don’t buy small soaps. 16 ounce Shampoo should be placed in ziplock bags to prevent leakage. Jack said his seven grand children often help him with his Shoebox shopping. Last year we assembled 756 shoeboxes and this year we hope to assemble 800. For more information, call John (Jack) Young at 440 759-4000.