PARKERSBURG - A Wirt County girl distributed around 150 shoeboxes full of donated items to help those in need Monday at the House To Home day shelter in Parkersburg.
Skylar Bogan, 13, has been collecting donations and distributing the shoeboxes around Christmas since she was 10 years old.
"When I was 10, my mother and I were driving over the Fifth Street Bridge and we saw there were tents underneath," she said. "We felt bad so I wanted us to do something,"
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Diane Geipe receives a shoebox filled with donated items from Skylar Bogan, 13.
After considering a couple of ideas, she decided to collect shoeboxes and get donations to fill them up with things people might need.
Her first year doing the project they had a goal of 50 boxes and met that. The following year, the goal was 100 boxes and they met that.
Last year, the goal was 150 boxes and met that. They held to the 150 goal again this year.
With help from her friends, her mother Amber Holbert and others, Bogan was able to get the word out and get donations. They collected shoeboxes, drink boxes, bottles of water, bread, peanut butter, jelly, a salty snack, a sweet snack, toothbrushes, tooth paste, deodorant, gloves, hats and socks.
"My mom works at Camden Clark and the Coplin Clinic in Elizabeth," Bogan said. "She has me write a letter every year for donations and she posts it around all the campuses then she sends out an email.
"This year, my school (Wirt County Middle School) got involved and my gym teacher sent out an email and we made a video asking people for donations from everyone around the school and we got a lot of things. It has been a big success," Bogan said.
Jessie Towner, operation manager for House To Home, thanked Bogan for her efforts.
"You are an awesome young lady," Towner said. "Thank you for all you have done ... the effort and all the hard work. It is very much appreciated."
Towner said she was touched by Bogan's efforts.
"It is an absolutely wonderful feeling that someone her age would take the time and the effort to do what she is doing," she said. "It is a great thing.
"When I found out she adopted us this year, I was overwhelmed. There are not many kids her age do that. It is a wonderful feeling that people are still out there who want to help."
Bogan and a couple of her friends handed out the boxes to people at the shelter who were there for the shelter's annual Christmas dinner. Many of the people thanked Bogan and talked to her about all she had to do to put this together.
Diane Geipe received a shoebox at the shelter.
"It is very nice," she said. "I didn't expect it."
Geipe said the contents will be a big help for her.
"A group of us stay down along the river," she said. "This will come in real handy, the gloves, the hat, everything."
Bogan said she is fortunate and there are many people in this community who are not.
"If I have a lot of nice things, I think it is a good idea for me to give to people who don't have a lot of things," she said. "It makes me feel good and I know there are people who would like to have some nice things around Christmas."