Alison Skrepneck (left), local coordinator, The Campbell River Shoebox Project presents some shoeboxes to Kevin E. James, coordinator, Campbell River Sobering and Assessment Centre, Vancouver Island Mental Health Society during the 2019 Shoebox campaign. Photo submitted

Alison Skrepneck (left), local coordinator, The Campbell River Shoebox Project presents some shoeboxes to Kevin E. James, coordinator, Campbell River Sobering and Assessment Centre, Vancouver Island Mental Health Society during the 2019 Shoebox campaign. Photo submitted

The Shoebox Project virtually on-track to deliver gifts this season

Charity still calling on supporters to help deliver holiday cheer and a sense of belongingness to local women impacted by homelessness

Packing gifts for The Campbell River Shoebox Project has been an annual tradition for many local residents, however this year they’re asking supporters to “think outside the Shoebox” by supporting their campaign virtually.

In light of the heightened risk surrounding COVID-19, The Shoebox Project for Women has made the difficult decision to suspend their annual Shoebox collection across the country this holiday season. But local women impacted by homelessness, they say, need our support more than ever.

“COVID-19 has created a range of unique vulnerabilities for people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness, and like any societal crisis, it has disproportionately affected women,” says Lesley Hendry, Executive Director. “We want women living in shelters to feel proud of their strength and resiliency during these difficult times, and to be reminded that they belong to a community that cares.”

Supporters interested in donating a holiday gift directly to a local woman who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have several opportunities to do so, including:

1. Making a donation to the Campbell River chapter of The Shoebox Project by going to www.shoeboxproject.com/donate. Donors can select Campbell River as the designated fund. Indicate for Port Hardy/North Island in the Notes section.

2. Creating a Virtual Shoebox by going to www.shoeboxproject.com/virtual. Choose the Campbell River Chapter. For Port Hardy/North Island, donors may indicate this in the Notes section.

3. Collecting Gift Cards to local restaurants, grocery/drug stores, or your favourite small businesses instead.

4. Dropping off Gift Cards (up to $50 value) along with an inspirational message between Nov. 12 and Wednesday, Dec. 9:

In Campbell River: Coastal Community Credit Union (Discovery Harbour), La Tee Da Lingerie (Shoppers Row), or Sundance Java Bar (Sunrise Square at Willow Point).

In Port Hardy: North Island Crisis & Counselling Centre Society (Beverly Parnham Way).

Funds raised by The Campbell River Shoebox Project will be used to purchase gift cards, and along with those donated at the drop-off locations they will be safely distributed to local women’s shelters and agencies that provide services to vulnerable women in lieu of Shoeboxes this holiday season.

Perhaps most importantly, donors are asked to include a message of support or a warm holiday greeting with their gift. The Shoebox Project believes that in a year defined by loneliness and isolation, these words of solidarity and affirmation could make the world of difference for someone spending their holidays in a shelter or living in unfortunate circumstances. Donors are also encouraged to share their messages on social media using the hashtag #VirtualShoebox, in hopes that others may find solace and strength in the kindness of strangers during these challenging days.

“This is the eighth year that I have coordinated The Campbell River Shoebox, the fourth year for Port Hardy/North Island and members of our community have embraced this project over the years and been very generous. In these difficult times I really hope that as many people as possible will donate to this worthy cause, helping to brighten the Holidays for women who are less fortunate,” stated Alison Skrepneck, Local Coordinator.

Last year, The Campbell River Shoebox Project delivered 559 of gift-filled Shoeboxes to 17 shelters and agencies supporting vulnerable women in Campbell River and Port Hardy/North Island. The goal for 2020 is to provide 410 gift cards valuing $50 to local women; 360 in Campbell River and 50 in Port Hardy/North Island. The gifts will look different this year but the goal remains the same as always: to help every woman in the community feel a sense of joy, belongingness and hope this season.

Community members interested in donating a virtual Shoebox or donating in other ways can visit www.shoeboxproject.com for more detailed information. Follow The Campbell River Shoebox Project on Facebook. Alison Skrepneck, Local Coordinator of The Campbell River Shoebox Project can be reached at campbellriver@shoeboxproject.com or by calling 250-203-9360. In Port Hardy, Marina can be reached at 250-230-7598.

About The Shoebox Project: The Shoebox Project for Women, supported by Dream, collects and distributes gift-filled Shoeboxes to women impacted by homelessness. Each Shoebox is filled with items valued at 50 dollars that can enhance self-worth and reduce isolation. The Shoebox Project now delivers over 64,000 gifts annually to hundreds of communities across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

RELATED: The Shoebox Project returns to Campbell River and the North Island this holiday season

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