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United Way decorating contest starts

Shoeboxes filled with toiletries for homeless

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Joe Hark of Bentley University participated in Deloitte’s Shoebox Project recently as part of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Alternative Spring Break. About 70 students from around the country met in Atlanta to take part in various community service projects. Henry County United Way agency is asking residents to  participate in the Shoebox Project.

Special Photo Joe Hark of Bentley University participated in Deloitte’s Shoebox Project recently as part of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Alternative Spring Break. About 70 students from around the country met in Atlanta to take part in various community service projects. Henry County United Way agency is asking residents to participate in the Shoebox Project.

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Special Photo United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta wants to discover the most creative shoebox designer in metro Atlanta, including Henry and Clayton counties. The 2012 Shoebox Project Decorating contest ends May 1, and the winner will be announced May 17. The Shoebox Project Decorating winner will receive two, round-trip tickets from Delta Air Lines.

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Special Photo To enter the 2012 Shoebox Project Decorating Contest, "like" the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta on Facebook and join the events page to upload photos of uniquely decorated shoeboxes. The agency offers a second option to enter the contest, tweet photos of the decorated shoebox and tag it with #shoeboxproject.

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Special Photo United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta is hosting the 2012 Shoebox Project Decorating Contest. Residents of Henry and Clayton counties can enter a contest via the agency’s Facebook page.

United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta is looking for the most creative shoebox designer in 13 counties, including Henry and Clayton. The agency is hosting the 2012 Shoebox Project Decorating Contest.

“We encourage people to decorate empty shoe boxes and fill them with toiletry items,” said David Graves, Director of Media and Marketing Services of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. “The boxes are to be delivered to homeless women and children.”

The program provides recipients with basic items many people may take for granted, said Graves. However, they are deemed necessities when the women and children find themselves in a homeless situation, he added.

A record 18,000 shoe boxes were collected last year, said Graves. The community program has been in place for seven years. The campaign runs through May 1, 2012, and gifts will be delivered on Mother’s Day, May 13.

“[The Shoebox campaign] originated through our Women Leadership Council of United Way and they wanted to target a program specifically for women and children,” said Graves. “This group is the largest growing homeless population in metro Atlanta. Some of these women are escaping abuse, some women have encountered tough times because of the economy, and others are just looking to make a fresh start.”

Contestants are asked to create and design the most creative shoebox, from now until the contest ends on May 1. The winner will receive of two round-trip tickets from Delta Air Lines. The winner of the shoebox contest will be announced May 17.

Each year, individuals and organizations throughout metro Atlanta donate shoeboxes filled with toiletries, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, lip balm, etc., which are distributed to women and children at homeless shelters throughout the 13-county region United Way serves.

Decorated shoeboxes may be left between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., at the Henry County United Way office, located at 107 Westridge Industrial Blvd., in McDonough. Decorated shoeboxes may also be dropped off at the Stockbridge Charter office located at 1920 Brannan Road between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday and Saturdays from 9 a.m., until 1 p.m.

Anyone with more than 150 shoeboxes, United Way will pick up the boxes through FedEx as a courtesy. The last day to schedule a pickup is April 20.

To enter the 2012 Shoebox Project Decorating Contest, call Linda Jones, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta in Henry County, at (678) 623-2870. For additional information about the United Way Shoebox Project, visit unitedwayatlanta.org/shoeboxproject or e-mail shoeboxproject@unitedwayatlanta.org or call (404) 614-2911.