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Hope in a box: Boxes of Love now accepting orders

Packs of cookies awaiting final packaging in Boxes of Love.

Packs of cookies awaiting final packaging in Boxes of Love. Photo By C.T. Kruger

Oct. 31, 2012

Whitefish Bay - How much hope can one box bring?

Families in Whitefish Bay are hoping to answer that question during the 2012 Boxes of Love bake sale that will raise money to purchase desks and chairs for a school in an impoverished slum in Kenya, Africa. Each year during the holidays, Whitefish Bay youths team up to fill decorative boxes filled with an assortment of cookies, bread and fudge that can be sent as gifts to friends and loved ones.

This year, 120 youths are partnering together to help the school purchase new desks and chairs.

The children and families in Whitefish Bay will spend four weeks baking, filling and delivering the package orders starting Thanksgiving weekend. Baked goods include sugar cookies, peanut butter kisses, snicker doodles, white chocolate peppermint bark and new gluten-free caramels.

The Boxes of Love cost either $3 or $4 depending on what baked goods are placed inside each box. Order forms are available at valleyview-mathare.com. An order form can also be requested via email at boxesoflove@live.com.

Order forms or donations can be returned to Boxes of Love, 6111 N. Berkeley Blvd., Whitefish Bay, WI, 53217. Forms can also be emailed. Order forms are due by Nov. 26.

The Boxes of Love are delivered free in Whitefish Bay and Shorewood, according to Boxes of Love Manager Linda Katz, who runs the program with her son Noah. Boxes can also be mailed to any place in the continental U.S. for $11.

Last year, more than 100 children and teenagers baked 17,000 treats and raised $20,560 that went to the Children's Outing Association in Milwaukee.

All of the 2012 Boxes of Love profits will go to Valley View Academy. Mathare is one of the oldest and largest slums in East Africa with a population of about 600,000 people living in four square kilometers, according to Linda. The people do not have access to clean water, reliable electricity, formal sewage systems or adequate housing.

Valley View provides affordable education to 1,000 Mathare children, including early morning and late night tutoring, two meals per day and training in physical activities.

Boxes of Loves organizers this year are hoping to raise enough money so the school can purchase 600 sturdy desks and chairs, a total cost of about $31,000.

Linda and Noah, a Whitefish Bay High School student, have been running the bake sale since 2010 after taking over for the family of Tim and Carol Cochran. The Cochrans were interested in raising money for different charities and six years ago they started Boxes of Love.

The family has since moved to Columbia because of a job transfer and the Katz family took over the program.

This year, Boxes of Love contributions to Valley View will be matched by 10 percent or 20 percent by supporters of the program, said Linda.

Monetary donations to the program will also be matched.

- Danielle Switalski

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