A shoebox full of donations that will be going to a woman in need this Christmas. (Submitted photo)

Shoebox Project hits fundraising goal, over 500 shoeboxes given out to women in need

“I am thrilled that so many women will receive a shoebox gift this Christmas”

Hundreds of local disadvantaged women will enjoy shoebox gifts this holiday season, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of many community members. The goal was surpassed again this year, over 550 gift-filled shoeboxes were delivered in Campbell River and the North Island to shelters and community agencies which serve women in need.

More than 470 brightly decorated shoeboxes filled with personal items and little luxuries were recently delivered to the following shelters and community agencies in Campbell River who will provide the gifts to vulnerable women prior to Christmas: Campbell River and North Island Transition Society which includes Campbell River Women’s Resource Centre, Radiant Life Outreach, Salvation Army Evergreen House, AIDS Vancouver Island, Salvation Army Lighthouse Family Services, John Howard/Foundry, Opportunities Advocacy Services Centre, Immigrant Welcome Centre, Laichwiltach Family Life Society, Campbell River Public Health, Sobering and Assessment Centre, and Stopping the Violence Outreach Program in Campbell River and Gold River, as well as Campbell River Family Services and Community Health Services Island Health.

Marina Hargrave, project lead in the North Island along with daughter’s Park and Clancy, collected and will distribute gift-filled Shoeboxes in their community through the North Island Crisis & Counselling Centre Society. For the North Island about 80 Shoeboxes were collected for local women in need.

Alison Skrepneck, local Coordinator for The Campbell River Shoebox Project, said “Up until two days before the drop off deadline we were at less than 40 per cent of our goal in Campbell River and an even lower percentage for the North Island. We were concerned that we wouldn’t meet our goal in providing gifts for vulnerable women, especially with what’s happening in island communities with the forestry strike. However during the last few days of the campaign we received several large donations and with the help of some extra promotion we not only met our goal, we surpassed it! Those who could give, did. I am thrilled that so many women will receive a shoebox gift this Christmas. I want to thank everyone for their generosity!”

The main objective of a shoebox gift is to help the recipient feel special, worthy and cared for. A local woman who received a Shoebox said “Thank you so much. I will keep my Shoebox until Christmas morning since it is the only gift I will receive.” Some women are emotional when they receive their gift. Heather Brownhill from Opportunities and Advocacy Services said “This project touches so many people: those who fill and create the Shoeboxes, staff at the Drop off locations that collect them, the volunteers who inspect and deliver them, the staff at the shelters and agencies who receive and distribute the Shoeboxes to their clients, and lastly the women who receive the gifts.” One woman who donated a shoebox wrote “It is our true pleasure to give from our hearts!”

It took many giving members of the community and businesses to support this worthwhile project providing shoebox gifts in time for the Holidays for local women in need. Skrepneck would like to thank:

* Individuals, groups and businesses who created Shoebox gifts for the women and those who donated extra items.

* Youth who filled and decorated Shoeboxes for the women including students at Phoenix School Middle School.

* Hard working volunteers who gave of their time to collect, sort, decorate and deliver Shoeboxes to shelters and community agencies.

* Dan Samson for use of commercial space for storing and sorting the Shoeboxes.

* All in One Party Shop for use of tables.

* Those who helped promote the project.

* The Drop off locations: Coastal Community Credit Union in Discovery Harbour, La Tee Da Lingerie and Sundance Java Bar in Campbell River, and North Island Crisis & Counselling Centre Society in Port Hardy.

* Businesses that collected items for the Shoeboxes including Vital Roots Wellness, La Tee Da Lingerie, French Creek Collective, Ragdolz, Hermosa Lingerie, The Good Ninas and Coastland Veterinary Hospital.

* Businesses that donated women’s personal items for the Shoeboxes including Shoppers Drug Mart Tyee Plaza, Save on Foods Campbell River, and dental supplies from Dr. Lathangue.

This was the seventh year for the project in Campbell River and the third year in the North Island. The requests for Shoeboxes has continued to grow over the years and with the increased demand members of the community have responded by generously filling Shoeboxes and donating personal items for local disadvantaged women.

Over 550 gift-filled Shoeboxes valuing more than $27,500 were delivered in Campbell River and the North Island this year to shelters and community agencies which serve women in need.

About Shoebox Project

The Shoebox Project for Women, supported by Dream, collects and distributes gift-filled Shoeboxes to women who are homeless or at high risk of homelessness.

Each Shoebox is filled with items valued at 50 dollars that can enhance self-worth and reduce feelings of isolation.

Founded in 2011 by Caroline,

Jessica, Katy and Vanessa Mulroney, The Shoebox Project now delivers over 46, 000 gifts annually to hundreds of communities across Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom. For more information go to www.shoeboxproject.com

Thanks again Campbell River and the North Island for your generosity and for supporting local women in need.

The Campbell River Shoebox Project will be back again in 2020, please watch for information next fall!

– Submitted article

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