Boxes with a Purpose provides Christmas gifts for over 5,000 foster children

BARBOUR COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) - From 1,500 to over 5,000.

That's the number of boxes Rachel Propst and dozens of volunteers across the state were able to collect for this year's boxes with a purpose.

"The idea behind Boxes with a Purpose is to send a normalizing holiday experience to the children in West Virginia foster care," said Propst

Propst says the inspiration to take up this cause came from a conversation with others who were seeing the need in their community.

They began reaching out to their local Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and other private foster institutions.

"We reached out to the DHHR, we got 250 children's information and started working from that," Propst said "But then we quickly realized that to meet the needs of our county, we had to look at private agencies, we had to look at bordering counties DHHRs to make sure we met the need of every child cause they were everywhere,"

Boxes with a Purpose uses and online form to match up people who want to donate with kids across the area.

"We would ask the DHHR for the children's information they would give us their size, their gender, and something that the child liked, whether it was a T.V. show, a book, or a type of movie" said Propst "And then, someone would log into our system and request the box information for a child who's age or gender they were interested in filling that box for,"

While the movement began locally, the group is now collecting boxes for kids all across the state.

"So we had three drop off locations in almost every county, there were two counties in West Virginia that we didn't have drop off locations but people brought them to the bordering county,"

Once the boxes were brought in from the different collecting location, volunteers were tasked with checking and sorting them.

After the boxes are inspected they are placed in piles labeled according to their agency.

On December 10th, agencies from every county in the state will be stopping in Phillipi to pick up their boxes.

The group is setting an even larger goal for themselves for next Christmas.

"So right now the DHHR reports that they have 6,000 on their rolls, that's not including private agencies and shelters," said Propst "So we're still not quite there to getting them into the hands of every child, but that is the goal now for next year,"

Other founders who helped with this project along with Rachel Propst are Vanessa Short, Michelle Mouser, Donna Seaman, Sherry Hubbard, and Abby Farris.