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Addi and Brooklyn Schuette lead charitable effort for kids in need around the world

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Brooklyn, left, and Addi Schuette are stuffing 10 shoeboxes with toys and other gifts for children across the globe.

Two Gresham sisters are brightening the Christmas' of children in need around the globe through a charitable effort that has become a family tradition.

Addi and Brooklyn Schuette, ages 18 and 15, are participating in Operation Christmas Child, which is run internationally by the nonprofit Samaritan's Purse. Through the program, Addi and Brookyln plan to fill 10 shoeboxes with toys, essential items, school supplies and more that will be shipped overseas to young boys and girls in impoverished countries.

Based in Boone, N.C., Samaritan's Purse works with local churches offering comfort and aid to those in crisis around the world. Modeled after the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan, volunteers bring food, medical supplies and spiritual assistance to numerous areas where people are suffering. To date, Operation Christmas Child has distributed more than 178 million shoeboxes, since its inception in 1993 — thanks in large part to the efforts of people like the Schuette sisters.

"I really like to help other people," Addi said. "Any time there is a toy or clothing drive we always take part."

The sisters, who both attend Centennial High School, first got involved with Operation Christmas Child seven years ago, when their grandmother thought it would be a fun way to make a difference. They packed about three boxes that were shipped internationally and delivered to children on Christmas Day.

But this year things are different. Because of the few charitable events being held, and uncertainty around what opportunities will be available over the holidays, the Schuette sisters wanted to do more. So they ventured forward on their own to fill more boxes than ever before.

"We want to give a kid a Christmas when they don't have anything," Brooklyn said. "It makes all the effort worth it in the end."

Help fill the boxes

This year Addi and Brooklyn are taking donations from the community to help reach their Operation Christmas Child goals.

They are looking for supplies and items that fit inside a standard shoebox and are appropriate for a boy or girl age 2-14. The shoebox cannot contain liquids, camo print, or fake weapons.

Potential donations include:

- Soap

- Toothbrushes and hairbrushes

- Socks

- Stuffed animals

- School supplies

- Games and activities

- T-shirts

- Toys

- Coloring or reading books

- Fun cups or water bottles

Contact Sonja Schuette at 503-702-1573 by Monday, Nov. 16, to contribute.

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