Linda Ferguson

Holiday shoebox project sends gifts to women’s shelters

At the helm of the local operation is Linda Ferguson, who is coordinating three drop off locations in Sooke.

A pair of gloves, a soft scarf, and a lipstick may seem trivial to some, but to women who’ve lost everything and living on cold, winter streets – it’s the world.

In its fourth year, the Vancouver Island Shoebox Project is back in Sooke, hoping to provide women in shelters with much-needed items this year.

At the helm of the local operation is Linda Ferguson, who is coordinating three drop off locations in Sooke.

The program runs until Dec. 17.

“The shoebox is something special these women can’t buy themselves, and makes them feel loved,” Ferguson said.

This year, she hopes to gather 1,500 shoeboxes to distribute throughout the Greater Victoria area over the Christmas season. In 2015, Ferguson and her team gathered 1,168 shoeboxes, surpassing their target of 1,000.

A shoebox item can be something that provides warmth and comfort for the winter, such as mitts, scarves, hats, socks, lip balm, as well as feminine items such as nail polish, earrings, lipstick and lip gloss.

The average value of contents in each shoebox is between $30 and $50, though the sky’s the limit. One shoebox may not remain intact by the time it reaches the recipient, Ferguson noted, adding shelter and transition house staff will pull and switch things around, so all the boxes look evenly distributed.

“When the shoeboxes are distributed to the transition house and other shelters, administrators will look through the boxes to make sure there’s nothing in there that’s unsafe or anything that can harm any of the residents,” she said.

There are three drop off locations in Sooke: Karen Mason Financial, 6689 Sooke Road, from Monday to Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Carolyn’s Btq, 6707 West Coast Road, and Linda Ferguson Designs, 2500 Westview Terrace.

This year, drop off shoebox locations also include the B.C. legislative building in Victoria and MLA John Horgan’s office on Jacklin Road in Langford.

For more on the Vancouver Island Shoebox Project, please go online to the shoeboxproject.com.