The Shoebox Project for Shelters has officially started again for the 2013 holiday season and we're pleased to be a drop-off point again this year.
Last year I wrote about why this project is important to me so I won't repeat that here. But I'm inviting my network, again, as individuals or part of a group, to create one or more shoeboxes for women who are spending the holiday season in one of Vancouver's shelters.
Shelters provide emergency and transitional shelter and services to women who are homeless because they flee abuse or difficult living situations, they are poor or afflicted with mental illness or they are new Canadians who require assistance.
These shoeboxes brighten the holiday season and let the women know they are special and not forgotten. They are filled with items that a woman would enjoy but would not splurge on for herself in times of difficulty. It's a special gift, just for her, that hopefully will not only brighten her day, but it will also let her know that someone in her community is thinking about her, and remind her that she is not forgotten.
Frequently Asked Questions about Creating a Shoebox:
What should I put in the shoebox?
Items that, in a time of budget constraint, could be considered a luxury or that someone wouldn't be able to splurge on. Something that YOU would like to receive if you were in a strange, unfamiliar environment at a difficult time in your life. Some ideas:
- Body or hand lotions
- Makeup: mascara, lipstick and nail polish. (Please no concealers or foundations)
- Chocolates, cookies, candies (Nut-free products please)
- Mitts, hat, scarf
- Brush, comb
- Bus or subway tokens / phone card
- Gift certificates (McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s, Shoppers Drug Mart, Wal-Mart). Please include the value of the card (if possible, include the receipt)
IMPORTANT: Please do not include razors in your shoebox. Shoeboxes should contain packaged goods only. Please make sure that the individual items are all packaged, sealed and unused!
How much should I spend?
We are asking that the value of the contents be around $50. If that amount isn't doable, consider going in with a friend on a box. Or, make a small box and bring it by one of the drop-off locales (see below). We can often supplement a box to bring it up to the $50 value.
Does it have to be in a shoebox?
Nope, you can bring it by in a Shopper's Drug Mart bag. But if you do have a box, please use it. If you have two boxes, please bring the extra empty one with your full one. :) We ran a little tight on shoeboxes last year :)
Should I wrap my shoebox?
You can decorate it or wrap it, but it should not be wrapped shut (all the boxes are inspected by the shelters). You can wrap the lid separately if you have a two-piece shoebox. Those one-piece shoeboxes are tricky to wrap, but it can be done (I did about 50 of them last year). However, if you bring by your plain ol' box, we'll make it all Christmasy for you.
Can I include an inspirational message?
Yes! Feel free to include a poem, a card or an inspirational quote that could resonate with someone who is homeless this holiday season.
When and where can I drop off my shoebox?
In Vancouver, we have four five locations:
- Vancouver (East Van): 2305 McLean Drive (Monday to Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm, Saturday 11:00am – 5:00pm)
- Downtown: 100 - 1050 Homer Street (Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:00pm)
- West Vancouver: 303 - 545 Clyde Avenue ( Monday to Friday 11:00am – 4:00pm)
- Downtown: 1088 Richards Street (only available on select evenings and weekends). Please email to confirm drop off at this location.
- Burnaby: CH2M HILL Canada Limited, Metrotower II, Suite 2100, 4720 Kingsway, Burnaby V5H 4N2 (Monday to Friday 9:00am-4:00pm)
Drop-offs begin on Monday, November 18 and can be made through Friday, December 13, 2013.
Is this just Vancouver?
Definitely not! There are over 2 dozen locations across Canada participating in the Shoebox for Shelters project!
How do I share this with my friends on social media?
The Shoebox Project for Shelters is on:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheShoeboxProjectCanada
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/shoeboxcanada
- Pinterest: (this is a great board for both shoebox item inspiration as well as wrapping inspiration) http://www.pinterest.com/shoeboxp/shoebox-project-inspiration/
This year, we're using the hashtag #ShoeboxLove - share your photos of your shoebox or your shoe-box-making party!
Anything else I should know?
This time of year is insanely busy - and I know we're all pressed for time as well as funds. But this gesture of love and kindness to someone in our own community who we don't even know is something that truly embodies the spirit of the season. You can see what I put in my shoebox this year. I hope it inspires you to create your own!