Shoebox campaign will brighten someone’s day
Libby Ward of Haldimand County is organizing another round of the Shoebox Project for Shelters gift campaign in Norfolk and Haldimand. Donors have till Dec. 1 to drop off Christmas shoeboxes for women in need at several locations across the two counties. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
Christmas is a great time of the year made even better by the opportunity to help the less fortunate.
Christmas can be especially difficult for those who are enduing a rough patch in their life. That pretty much describes every woman riding out the year in a women’s shelter.
Three years ago, Libby Ward of Haldimand County took stock of the situation and decided to help. She launched a Haldimand-Norfolk chapter of The Shoebox Project for Shelters.
Over the past two Christmases, Ward has collected and distributed hundreds of decorated shoeboxes filled with little treats and treasures designed to make a struggling woman feel less alone and a little more positive about the future.
Ward announced this week that she is back for a third Christmas. Last year, Ward distributed 300 Christmas shoeboxes. Her goal this year is 350.
“I keep doing it because I want to make a difference in my community,” says Ward, who works as an education assistant in Caledonia.
“I want to brighten people’s lives at a difficult time and give them hope. I’ve seen the effect this has and it keeps me going.”
The charitable initiative started in Toronto in 2011 with 400 shoebox gifts at four women’s shelters.
Last year, 252 communities in Canada and the United States took part. A total of 36,500 women in need had their Christmases brightened with shoebox gifts.
Over the past six years, organizers have come up with a set of rules and guidelines for beneficial gift-giving.
To begin, organizers ask donors to limit the value of shoebox contents to $50.
Donors are asked to find a sturdy shoe box and decorate the bottom and lid separately with gift-quality wrapping paper. Handlers must inspect the contents so the boxes should not be delivered sealed.
Enclosed within should be an array of practical and delightful items. Examples include basic make-up, a warm pair of socks, a gift card perhaps, shampoo, playing cards, hair ties, transit tokens, fancy tea and chocolate.
The Shoebox Project asks that all items be new and in their original packaging. No used, opened or product samples are allowed. Sized clothing (S, M, L, XL) is discouraged, as are sharp objects or anything containing alcohol.
Perhaps most important of all, donors are also asked to enclose a warm, supportive message conveying sentiments one would want to share with someone who is feeling lonely and isolated. When people are enduring a tough time, they occasionally need to be reminded that they are valued and that better times lie ahead.
The deadline for submitting a shoebox is Friday, Dec. 1.
Drop-off locations include Prominent Homes at the corner of Ireland Road and the Queensway East in Simcoe, Ty-Kobee Tea & Coffee in Port Dover, Nigh’s Concrete in Jarvis, public libraries in Dunnville and Caledonia, and The Thrift Shoppe in Port Rowan.
The shoe boxes will be delivered to four shelters and institutions for women in the local area in time for Christmas.
These include the Haldimand-Norfolk Women’s Services shelter in Simcoe, Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services in Ohsweken, the Norfolk Pregnancy & Family Resource Centre in Simcoe, and the Haldimand Pregnancy Care & Family Centre in Dunnville and Caledonia.