The Gift of a Shoebox

June 15, 2021

How much good can a shoebox do?
Answer: The Most Good.

MaryAnn, with the help of St. Bernard in Bella Vista, Bella Vista First United Methodist, and Bella Vista Presbyterian Church, has been helping The Salvation Army shelters in Fayetteville and Bentonville for years by packing shoeboxes with daily essentials for men, women, and special needs shelter guests.

The Shoebox Program in Northwest Arkansas began in 1989 in the home of Bud and Dorothy. The program was used to assist the homeless and those in great need. MaryAnn took over the program and moved it to her church, where she then started packing shoeboxes out of a closet.

“We ran out of space in a hurry because we added more programs,” said MaryAnn, “at first, the churches were just used for packing the boxes.” In these boxes, church members and donors packed toiletries, razors, shaving cream, band-aids, books, combs, deodorant, soap, shampoo, tissues, women’s personal products, and much more.

MaryAnn didn’t stop with The Salvation Army; she went on to distribute these boxes of supplies to elementary schools, 7Hills, Peace at Home, NWA Children’s Shelter, NWA Women’s Shelter, and anywhere she saw the need in Benton and Washington Counties.

MaryAnn described the help of Karen, Diane, and Cheryl to be intricate in the success of the Shoebox Ministry. With a program reaching so many, a strong support system goes a long way.

With the help of MaryAnn, Karen, Diane, Cheryl, First United Methodist, St. Bernard, and Bella Vista Presbyterian Church, The Salvation Army of Northwest Arkansas’ shelter guests never go without basic necessities. Together, we are Doing The Most Good and fighting homelessness in NWA.


If you would like more information about homelessness in Northwest Arkansas and what The Salvation Army is doing to combat it, call our office at (479) 521-2151.

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