When I was nearly 19 years old I decided I would fundraise and go volunteer in the squatter camps of CapeTown, South Africa. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a trip so impulsive would shape the heart of my existence and create a passion so big to help others. While I was there for 3 months, we received a super fun surprise…. A HUGE crate of thousands and thousands of Operation Shoebox shoeboxes, filled with treats, hygiene items and gifts for children, was on its way to the Congo and was redirected to South Africa. We were responsible for delivering this unexpected shoe boxes to over 5 townships.
Most of the children receiving these shoeboxes had never received a single gift in all their lives. They opened the boxes with awe and wonder and what was surprising to me was that out of all the goodies, the little candies, trinkets, books, etc… the most valuable thing in those cardboard boxes was the letters and photos from the person that sent it. The children clung to those letters and pictures as if they knew that person on a level deeper than any relationship they ever had. Those children were so grateful that some random stranger across the ocean cared enough to send them those things and you could just feel the love with every letter read.
That experience changed me…. so when I saw this story I was not surprised at the passion Joana expressed (and the dedication) in sharing her gratitude with Tyrel, but I was also beyond over the moon excited to share it with you all!
In the year 2000 a sweet 8 year girl, named Joana, received an Operation Shoebox in the Phillipines, from a 7 year old boy, named Tyrel from Idaho…
After several failed postal attempts to reach Tyrel and express her gratitude for his generosity, Joana turned to Facebook nearly a decade later… and low and behold… The rest is history!
Want to read about their journey from Shoebox to Now… Read the full story here.*Disclaimer: Black Sheep Bride is a mainstream & inclusive wedding publication…. We are lovers of all people and have an audience that share, support & respect both non- faith and faith based non-profits that give back! *