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Kids Charity Boxes Stranded in Ore.

January 14, 1999

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ When 11-year-old Brittany McCord heard Honduran children were suffering from the effects of Hurricane Mitch, she packed a shoe box with little stuffed animals, shampoo and crayons and hoped it would find its way to a needy little girl.

But her box _ and 42 tons of boxes like it _ is still sitting at the Portland International Airport because no planes are free to transport the load.

The Air Force had planned to make the delivery before Christmas.

Another 133 tons of supplies are accumulating in warehouses throughout the state, according to officials with Operation Shoebox, a community-based humanitarian organization.

The delay is disappointing for children like Brittany, a sixth-grader at Fowler Middle School in Tigard.

``I wanted her to be really happy because she would have some nice things,″ Brittany said. ``I was thinking she might be sad because they lost everything there, and there were some people on the streets.″

Mitch struck Central America in October, killing at least 9,000 and leaving thousands more homeless. Honduras was hardest hit, with more than 5,600 people killed, 8,000 people missing and $5 billion in damage.

Humanitarian and Air Force workers hope the supplies will reach Honduras within the next two months, but there are no promises.

``It’s nobody’s fault,″ said Bill Inman, president of Operation Shoebox. ``It seems like Oregon is just off the beaten track, and it’s hard to get squadron leaders around the country to think about picking (the supplies) up.″

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