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Clayton residents support homeless in shoebox campaign

JONESBORO — Clayton County businesses and organizations donated more than 400 shoeboxes filled with school supplies and toiletries for the metro Atlanta’s homeless women and children.

United Way of Greater Atlanta collected more than 38,000 shoeboxes in its annual Shoebox Project supporting nonprofit agencies that assist the homeless.

The campaign collected 18,000 more shoeboxes than it did last year, said United Way spokeswoman Yolanda James.

She said this year’s donations correlated to a higher demand from local agencies reporting an increased need.

“In 2012, approximately 90 agencies requested assistance,” she said. “This year, the number of agencies doubled.”

Those agencies include nonprofit organizations throughout metro Atlanta that provide services to homeless women and children.

“We had homeless shelters, transitional housing shelters, churches, food pantries and other groups that asked for help in collecting the boxes,” said James.

The community quickly responded with its support, said Milton Little Jr., president of United Way of Greater Atlanta.

“This year’s surge in donations is the perfect complement to our ‘Be Greater Atlanta’ platform and demonstrates how our 13 counties are working together to make our region a better place through Acts of Greatness — no matter how big or small,” Little said. “Initiatives like the Shoebox Project exemplify Acts of Greatness (good deeds that inspire others) and show that every individual has the power to change lives and the life of the community.”

James said more than 125,150 shoeboxes have collected and distributed to those agencies since its shoebox campaign began in 2006.

She added that the campaign has been successful thus far thanks to individuals who donate and volunteer. Organizations and businesses helped also.

James said the campaign received sponsorships from organizations such as the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council, American Signature Furniture, Comcast, FedEx, Meritex, Delta Airlines and area alumnae chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

United Way is no longer accepting shoeboxes donations for this year. She said the next project will be School Tools for Cool Kids from July through September. Information about the upcoming charity is available at www.unitedwayatlanta.org.