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Pack A Shoebox: Pioneer Group asks for Christmas shoeboxes for local children

The Pioneer Group in Hogansville is currently collecting Christmas shoeboxes and donations to provide Christmas to children in the community. 

“This year at The Pioneer Center we want to make Christmas magical by stuffing shoeboxes full of gifts to ensure that every child around us has a present this year,” said Pioneer Group Chairman Masey McClain. “It’s been a hard year for most and an even harder year for others, and our desire is to serve our little corner of the world in a special way.” 

McClain said it is like Operation Christmas Child but for the community in their own backyard. 

Pioneer Program is asking for the community to help pack shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for each child to receive.

The Pioneer Center is going to throw a “COVID-friendly” Christmas event on Dec. 11 filled with Christmas lights galore, hot dogs, hot chocolate, cookies, crafts for the kids, music and a reading of “A Christmas Story.” 

At the end of the event, every child will go home with their own box—age appropriate, and filled with Christmas gift items. 

“Our goal is to make these kids feel seen, loved, and remembered this Christmas,” McClain said. “We would love if you joined hands with us to either pack a shoebox or donate. Your donation will go directly to packing a Christmas box, and/or providing the means to put on A Very Merry Christmas event. Our goal is to make this a magical, outdoor event where the kids will receive their presents, and their families will be served dinner and dessert.”

McClain said for anyone who does not have time to pack a box or doesn’t live in Hogansville, they can donate on the website at pioneergeorgia.org. 

“We hope you will join us in loving on our community this year,” McClain said. “You will truly be making an impact that will not be forgotten.” 

Anyone making boxes can drop them off at Tandem Goods at 302 East Main Street in Hogansville. McClain asked that all boxes be dropped off by Dec. 9. 

Those packing a box can pick an age for the boy or girl they are making a Christmas box for. They are: 

  • 3-4 Years Old
  • 5-7 Years Old
  • 8-10 Yerars Old
  • 11-14 Years Old
  • 15-17 Years Old

McClain said to not put candy, food items or gift cards in the box. 

“If every family can pack two shoe boxes or even just one, then we’ll definitely have enough,” McClain said. “Pretty much pack them with whatever would be appropriate for that age. Maybe for like a five-year-old girl pack it with a Barbie doll and that would be a really fun item to put in there. Even hygiene items are good but we definitely encourage them to make it fun.” 

The Pioneer Center is an old church building turned into a Youth Center. It houses a after school program called Elevation which is a drop-in center type model that provides a safe, educational and remediate outlet for the community’s youth to attend on weekdays.

“There’s really no other greater joy than giving,” McClain said. “This year has been super hard and you know it would really be a blessing that these families and these kids won’t forget. There’s just something so special about where you’re planted, where you’ve been called to, where you live to serve and loving those around you.”