Each year 9-year-old Karly Little of New Lenox would load shoe boxes with gifts for child in need as part of a Christmas giving campaign thru her church.
The gift-filled shoe boxes were wrapped in blue paper, Karly's favorite color.
"Her spirit is still with us and we're doing it for her because she can't do it herself anymore," said volunteer Becky Dalseth.
Before 9-year old Karly Little died in a car crash last month, one of the things she most enjoyed doing with her mom and sister was participating in her church's yearly Christmas drive, part of a nationwide collection for poor children around the world.
"They really hand-picked every item and made it truly special cause they wanted another little girl like them to get what they enjoyed," said Karen Little.
Saturday, Karly's mom was back packing shoe boxes, up to a thousand of which are being collected in Karly's name. Karly's Kartons, as they are being called, will be sent to 5- to 9-year-old girls, along with a photo of Karly and a letter written by her mom.
The outpouring has been tremendous," Karen Little said. "There are so many people still shopping today, saying, 'Can we still donate? Can we still bring stuff?'"
Operation Christmas Child, as the drive is called, is about much more than toys and candy. School supplies, and even toiletries like toothbrushes and hand towels are packed into the boxes.
"These gifts are for the children, but many members benefit from the gifts that are inside these boxes as well," said Jennifer Estrada-Griffith of Operation Christmas Child. "It's a wonderful way for children to learn to give to other children."
Nationally, by the time all is said and done operation Christmas Child will ship over eight million boxes to needy children in 167 countries.