Second ... it's Shoebox Project for Shelters time again! This is the third year in Vancouver, and we've expanded:
- We added new drop-off spots, including Kitsilano, Olympic Village and another in East Van.
- In addition to the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre, we're working with shelters in North Vancouver and Surrey.
- We've set an aggressive goal of 750 boxes. Last year we collected just over 400 - can we do it? I think so!
One of the things that I have been touched by in particular this year is families that put boxes together and take the opportunity of collecting a shoebox to talk about charity and giving. Yoyomama.ca has a great post about sharing the experience with your kids.
And I received a lovely email from Christy, one of our donors, in which she shared her story:
I shopped with my girls yesterday and honestly it was one of the most meaningful experiences we have had. The conversations we had were so thoughtful and it almost made me cry watching a four year old and ten year old shop for items so carefully and seriously. These shoeboxes are so very special and we are so happy we found a way to help directly in our community.
I love this. I've written before about why this project is so dear and important to me, so I won't repeat that here. But I love that so many of our donors have turned this into a family experience. It actually doesn't take much time to put a box together, but by doing so, you have the opportunity to double your impact: transform the life of the woman who is receiving the box and create a positive and transformative memory for your family.
All of the details about creating a shoebox are on the Vancouver page on the main Shoebox Project website, but below are a few As to our most received Qs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Creating a Shoebox:
Wait ... what is the Shoebox Project for Shelters?
The Shoebox Project for Shelters was co-founded in Toronto in 2011 by four sisters-in-law, who asked their friends to fill shoeboxes with $50 worth of little luxuries, so they could deliver them to a local shelter. Today, the Shoebox Project operates in 30 communities across Canada and is still growing! Since inception, the Shoebox Project has delivered over 15,000 gifts to women in almost 200 shelters. The Shoebox Project is a registered charity, headquartered in Toronto.
What should I put in my 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:
- Nice socks, gloves, scarves, or hat
- Compact (travel) umbrella
- Rain ponchos
- Gift cards in $10 or $20 (coffee shops, drug stores, movie theatre, grocery stores)
- Anything chocolate or candy
- Full bottles of personal care products - a nice lotion, body wash or scrub
- Hair stuff: brushes, hair ties, clips
- Simple jewelry: earrings or bracelet
- High-end razor (e.g. Venus)
- Face pads/cleansers
- An inspirational card or note in the box
IMPORTANT: Please make sure that the individual items are all packaged, sealed and unused! Also, this is a list tailored to requests from Vancouver shelters (e.g. high-end razors are OK) so please make sure you check your local page or ask your local coordinator if you have any questions!
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.
$50 is a lot - I'm on a budget. Can I still participate?
YES! A lot of groups are putting together boxes. If you don't have $50, maybe you and 4 friends have $10 each? Rosemary has written a post about putting together a box as a group. And there are tips for hosting a Shoebox party on the website as well.
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. :)
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 Christmas it up for you.
When and where can I drop off my shoebox?
In Vancouver, we have seven locations. Days & hours vary per location. You don't have to call prior to drop-off unless the location specifies - see below:
East Van: 2305 McLean Drive
Monday to Friday - 8:00am to 6:00pm
Saturday - 11:00am to 5:00pm
Kate at 778-997-5283
East Van: 4289 Elgin Street
Monday to Friday – 5:30PM to 8:00PM
Sat & Sun – 9:00AM to noon
Jackie at 604-874-5574
False Creek: 181 West 1st Avenue (Corner of West 1st Ave and Columbia in Olympic Village)
Wednesdays – 7PM to 10PM
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm prior to drop off.
Downtown: Accenture (leave box with reception), 15th floor, 401 West Georgia Street
Monday to Friday: 1:00PM to 4:30PM
Burnaby: Metrotower II, Suite 2100, 4720 Kingsway
Monday to Friday - 8:30AM to 4:00PM
Amy at 604-671-7881
West Vancouver: Re/Max Business Center, 1453 Bellevue Avenue
Monday to Friday - 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Kitsilano: 3078 W. 14th Ave.
7 days a week - 8:00AM to 8:00PM
What is the last day for drop-off in 2014?
Friday, December 5th is the last day in Vancouver. Other cities, check the Shoebox Locations page.
Is this just Vancouver?
Definitely not! There are over 2 dozen locations across Canada participating in the Shoebox for Shelters project! Check out the Shoebox Locations page.
What if I don't know what to put in a shoebox and just want to make a donation?
No problem! Shoebox Project for Shelters is a registered charity and uses CanadaHelps for online donations. When you donate, you can specify the community where you want your funds directed.