Collecting Shoeboxes for a Cause

August 8, 2014 • United States
Collecting Shoeboxes for an Eagle Scout Project
Robby was unable to leave school to drop the boxes off at the processing center, so his mother brought them along with a photo of him and his friends loading the boxes.

A young man with a connection to Samaritan’s Purse participated in Operation Christmas Child for his Eagle Scout project

Robby Doughty is an 18-year-old Eagle Scout who has been involved with Samaritan’s Purse through Children’s Heart Project and Operation Christmas Child.

My involvement with Samaritan’s Purse first began when I was in fifth grade. When my parents announced that we would be hosting two sick African girls in need of heart surgery, I didn’t know what to expect.

At first, I was worried that these strangers would take over my house and mess up my way of living. It was all about me. However, once our guests arrived at the airport and waited shivering in the parking lot while we tried to figure out the car seats, my concerns quickly shifted.

Collecting Shoeboxes for an Eagle Scout Project

Doreen’s small stature showed Robby that she was truly in need. During her recovery from heart surgery, he became attached to her.

The two girls, Mariam and Doreen, were undersized for their ages. Doreen was especially slim; even her fingers were tiny. I immediately felt compelled to help. I clearly remember the smell of sweat, dirt, and exhaustion that filled the car on the ride to our house. But more than anything, I remember the loving, calm attitude that filled each one of our guests. They were grateful and would constantly offer to help around the house even though we were supposed to be the hosts. Although these people were poor and lived in constantly dangerous conditions, they were full of the love of God.

The Children’s Heart Project experience was incredible in a way that cannot be expressed just through words. I remember eagerly waiting for school to end so that I could go home and spend time with Mariam and Doreen. It was so much fun teaching them English words, playing board games, and just hanging out. On certain nights, the girls were even allowed to stay up late and watch San Antonio Spurs basketball with me on TV.

When the time finally came for them all to fly back to Uganda, I had fallen so in love with my new family that it was really tough to see them go. Most days I think about each one of them and how I might see them all again sometime in the future.

Who knew that a rascal fifth grader could connect so well with two little Ugandan girls? Children’s Heart Project allowed me to fully experience the love of Christ at work in my home and within me.

The Eagle Scout Project

Fast-forward to winter 2014 when I was scrambling to finish my Eagle Scout Rank. With my 18th birthday deadline for attaining Eagle just a few months away, I knew I needed to start my plan to pass the final hurdle between me and completing my pursuit, the Eagle Scout Project.

Collecting Shoeboxes for an Eagle Scout Project

The visiting Ugandans made a huge impact on Robby’s life, leading him to pack 100 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

An Eagle Scout project is meant to demonstrate the final display of leadership and planning that is expected of an Eagle. A project typically entails around 100 hours of planning and work, along with specific guidelines relating volunteerism and funding. Following several problematic ideas for a project, I was able to find one that met the expectations of the Boy Scouts and one that was personally important to me.

Here’s where it all comes together! Through a brainstorming session with my parents, I decided to do my Eagle Scout project for Samaritan’s Purse by assembling and packing 100 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. This project was attractive to me for several reasons, but most of all it was because it would actually mean something to an individual. I knew that through each box a child would receive some fun gifts, but more importantly, he or she would also receive an invitation to a personal relationship with God.

Over the next couple of weeks, I researched and ordered supplies, which I lugged up to my room at boarding school. By the time the actual project took place, I had so many faithful volunteers that we finished the packing process within an hour. I will never forget my friends who so generously gave their time, especially my roommate who kindly put up with a room cluttered with boxes.

Through Samaritan’s Purse, I’ve been able to not only receive the experience of a lifetime but also have the opportunity to give something back in my own little way. I’m truly thankful for the opportunities to witness God’s love and then share it with others.