NORTH DURHAM: More than three years after the tragic death of their daughter, a local couple is carrying on her generous spirit by giving back to less fortunate parts of the world during the holiday season.
Scugog Island residents Donna and Wes Mason will be hoping to provide even more hope through the Jackey Mason Memorial Shoebox Drive this year, as part of a charitable drive that sends shoeboxes of gifts to the most destitute parts of the globe.
“At age 23, our daughter died in September 2011 in an ATV accident on our property,” Donna told The Standard. “Our grief counsellor suggested doing something to honour her memory, and later one of my co-workers suggested that we carry on with the shoebox drive.”
The Masons have now been taking part in Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse for the past seven years, and since 2011, have dedicated their efforts to the memory of their daughter.
“When our girls - Jackey and Jennifer - were little, we always packed boxes, so it was a family tradition. Jackey loved children, and packing these boxes was one of her favourite things,” added Donna.
This year, the shoeboxes packed by volunteers will be sent to South and Central America in late-November, and typically contain small toys, school supplies, hygenie items and candy. As well, the boxes are age and gender specific.
The Masons have seen the drive grow exponentially since they began doing it, with more growth hopefully on the horizon this year.
“It’s really grown exponentially after the first year when we handed out 15 boxes. Last year, we had over 220 go out, and we are aiming for 300 this year,” said Wes.
When Donna retired from her job at OPG Darlington earlier this year, she noted that her co-workers at the nuclear power plant were concerned for the future of the endeavour, and have banded together to keep it going. As well, the couple’s church, Hope Christian Reform Church in Prince Albert has embraced the cause this year.
“We’ll be having four packing parties in the coming weeks,” said Donna. “It keeps up really busy, and it’s a great kind of busy.”
All of the boxes packed through the Jackey Mason Memorial Shoebox Drive have a sticker with a picture of the character Dory from Jackey’s favourite movie, ‘Finding Nemo’.
“Jackey had such a never give up attitude and was such a conqueror, as well as an encourager. These shoeboxes are a living legacy to her and how kind, generous, caring and loving she was,” said Donna. “It gives us great comfort and joy that we can be instrumental in this process.”
For more information on the Jackey Mason Memorial Shoebox Drive, contact Hope Christian Reformed Church at 905-985-9307 or the Masons at 905-985-1043.