Nicaragua Shoebox Project



Our largest international project involves hundreds of volunteers, a dozen other Rotary clubs, and two semi truckloads of donated material.  Every summer and fall since 2002, our club has locally spearheaded this effort to relieve the day to day struggle for children in Nicaragua.  These poor children are reduced to fighting cows and dogs for food they can scavenge from the local garbage dump.

A corps of Rotarians and volunteers travel to Nicaragua each November to distribute not only shoeboxes filled with new clothing, school supplies and toiletries, but also layettes for new mothers, durable medical equipment, bicycles, sewing machines, and garden tools.

This is a major undertaking that could not be possible without the selfless determination of our fellow Rotarians, Steve Thorpe and David Buck.  If you would like to help, please email our club secretary, Kelli.

Here is the Courier article about the 2008 Shoebox Project.

Here is the Courier article about the 2007 Shoebox Project.



February 6th, 2012 - Our heartfelt thanks goes to VGM for their caring and support of Downtown Rotary's Nicaragua Project.


KWWL interviewed Patty AcheyCutts and Sherrie Dreyer who described the need for diapers at Refuge Belin, the women's shelter our Rotary supports in Chinandega, Nicaragua. Marilyn Burrows, a VGM employee, took note of this project and asked how VGM could help. And boy did she help!
VGM employees donated over 1,200 t-shirts or 100 dozen diapers. They donated medical supplies used in the treatment of asthma and diabetes, electric and manual blood pressure monitor, and pillow case covers. VGM's donation also included $300 for the layette project gathered from employees who gave a dollar to wear jeans on Fridays.

August 15, 2011 - It started when club president-elect Steve Thorpe and wife Liz attended a Rotary International convention in San Antonio ten years ago. That trip resulted in the largest international project in Iowa Rotary history.



Using a Houston, Texas TV News Story, Steve took us through the many dimensions of this landmark humanitarian effort helping the people and children of northern Nicaragua and Children of the Dump. By devoting over a thousand hours a year and lots of his own money, Steve has mobilized thousands of people to fill shoeboxes or layettes, donate medical equipment, and recondition hundreds of bicycles. Over the years, volunteers from 12 states and Canada have made the trip south.

Steve brought us up to date on this year's effort and ask for each member for our help. It was apparent that he will be doing much more than the rest of us.

If you'd like to share the video with your friends or family, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

Here are some typical contents of a female shoebox, for a complete list of required and recommended items, click here.  If you'd like to fill a box for a little boy, click here for the list.

Here's a photo of the layette, these items will help a newborn's life start out healthy, clean and warm.  Please support at least one layette following this list carefully.