EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 30, 2012

Women collect holiday hope in shoeboxes

Women aim to fill tractor-trailer with gifts for hurricane victims


Undaunted, Burke spent an estimated 13 hours calling more trucking companies. Finally, she connected with the New Hampshire Motor Transport Association and they sent out a broadcast to all New hampshire-based trucking companies.

“We answered,” Cote said yesterday. “We wanted to do a little something and this looked like the perfect opportunity. We’ve had a pretty good year and this is a way for us to give back a little back.”

Cote’s company, in the business of moving machinery and electronics, is donating the tractor-trailer, driver and fuel for the round trip to Long Beach island.

The truck will be parked at the Atkinson Community Center the weekend before the trip, so people can drop off donations. Bright and early Dec. 17, the truck will head south.

“I hope it’s successful,” Cote said. “I hope we can bring a large amount of stuff down; whatever we can bring down will be a help.”

Burke and Heminway hope to collect enough shoeboxes to provide 800 holiday presents. The donations will be distributed through Operation Hometown Hope of New Jersey.

A store in New Jersey has offered space so residents will be able to “shop” for the shoebox of their choice.

The women also are collecting new toys, gift cards to Toys”R”Us, board games, hats, scarves, mittens and gloves, nonperishable food items, almost anything.

“We’re open to anything,” Burke said. “If people want to bring other donations, I have a truck going down.”

But the shoeboxes are at the heart of the project.

“We’re going to focus on things for inside,” Burke said.

She was brainstorming donation ideas with one of her four adult daughters and remembered doing something similar for a senior residence when her children were small.

People are encouraged to personalize the boxes with notes and decorations, but asked not to seal them.

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