Santa's Good Girls and Boys

Nov. 1, 2001
Getting school children on board the Boomerang Box cargo containers is an example how transport packaging is responding to needy youngsters.

Santa’s Good Girls and Boys

In September I briefly mentioned how packaging can be educational, citing the Boomerang Box program started by the global transportation company, APL. Well, the Box is comin’ ’round again.

School children, wondering what they can do to help those in need, are now involved in a project — growing out of the original Boomerang Box program — that will deliver toys and educational material valued at $500,000 to a developing country this holiday season.

The Boomerang Box, a 40-foot cargo container decorated with colorful artwork done by children, is about to begin a new adventure focused on how people help other people in time of need. The adventure, called the Great Toy Challenge, is as much about transport packaging and logistics as doing the right thing. The Boomerang Box has been loaded with toys and learning material donated by Toys R Us. It will be shipped to a mystery destination where the toys will be distributed to needy children by international relief organization CARE. Participating classrooms will be able to use their geography skills to guess the mystery destination, and will have a chance to win a cash donation from APL for the charity of their choice.

Students around the world can log on to a special Web site and guess the mystery destination by deciphering the clues posted on the Boomerang Box Great Toy Challenge link. Teachers may send in their classrooms’ guess via the Internet only. The Web site also features a wealth of curriculum material on geography, trade and international relief.

“International trade helps unite countries around the world,” says Ed Aldridge, APL’s president for the Americas. “We think it’s vital that school children understand the role trade and international relief efforts play in our lives.” Although planning for the Great Toy Challenge was under way earlier in the year, Aldridge says the project took on even more meaning after the September terrorist attacks.

“The partnership between companies and organizations in the Great Toy Challenge project is just one of many such collaborations,” Aldridge says. “We are deeply appreciative of Toys R Us and CARE for their support.”

According to Aldridge, APL will make donations of $500 each to local, national or international charity or relief organizations on behalf of 10 classrooms that correctly guess the container’s mystery destination.

The toy shipment bound for the mystery country contains educational and learning material including puzzles, crayons, markers, art paper, plastic and wooden blocks, toddler learning toys, games and playground-type items including basketball hoops, soccer goals and jump ropes.

“Toys R Us is pleased to offer a terrific opportunity for children to participate in a fun event while contributing to the well-being of other children around the world,” says Michael Jacobs, vice president, worldwide transportation.

Over the last four years, the 40-foot Boomerang Box has traveled more than 140,000 miles teaching young people around the world about global trade, logistics, transportation, geography and the people and customs of other lands. Students in classrooms around the world track the Boomerang Box via the Internet as part of APL’s interactive learning program.

The program is currently in use at more than 200 schools worldwide. The Web site averages 1,000 hits per month. APL has received e-mail communications about the Boomerang Box from teachers and students around the world and in 35 U.S. states.

The program is the essence of the 1969 Crosby, Stills and Nash tune, Teach Your Children: Teach your children well, their fathers’ hell, they will not live by.

Clyde E. Witt

executive editor

[email protected]