Susan Clark is a local volunteer who has made several trips to Haiti. On one trip, she got the chance to hand deliver some of the boxes directly to the kids.
Amber Best, an area team member with Operation Christmas Child, said it is people like Clark and her family that make these programs work.
“ I am so grateful that God opened that door for her to be able to do that and share with us what it's like to do that, so we know at home that it's really making a difference in the life of a child by what we do,” said Best.
Clark is a nurse and also volunteered in Haiti after the earthquake. She also made a trip following the cholera outbreak in October of 2011.
“I have been in other third-world countries around the world, but I've never seen anything like Haiti,” said Clark. “These people are living with absolutely nothing. The children eat dirt cakes because they don't have any food and they want to fill their stomachs because it hurts so bad.”
Despite the poverty and hardships, Clark said the will of the Haitian people drives her to continue to give back.
“They're so hopeful,” said Clark. “They're so grateful. They're very kind and hospitable. It's very humbling.”
Her passion has extended into her family. Clark’s husband and their oldest daughter have already traveled to the country. In late December, her youngest daughter will make a trip of her own, also accompanied by Clark’s husband.
“It feels like such a small thing that you do, like how can you not do more,” said Clark. “I think that's what's driven our family, ‘Why shouldn't we do more?’”
Doing more could soon mean a move. The Clark family is now discussing the possibility of living in Haiti for a year.
As for Operation Christmas Child, the shoe boxes are sent to children in more than 130 countries. In 2011, Hoosiers in central Indiana donated more than 39,000 boxes.