Linda Ferguson with the shoeboxes she has already collected

Splurging for others

Shoebox Project gives holiday gifts to women in shelters

There’s another Christmas project to add to the very generous list of giving that citizens of Sooke take on at this time of year.

It’s called the Shoebox Project, and the project collects and distributes gifts in the form of shoeboxes to women in shelters in Canada.

When local fashion designer Linda Ferguson got wind of the project on the Mainland, she wanted to locate the coordinator on the Island.

There wasn’t one.

So, three weeks ago, Ferguson picked up the phone and made a phone call.

And guess what? Now there is one.

For Ferguson, this was a perfect fit.

“As a fashion designer, I design clothing to help women feel good,” explained Ferguson. “When I heard about this Shoebox Project I said, ‘Oh my God, this is fantastic, I know a lot of women; I know this will resonate with them’.”

In her three short weeks, this well-connected entrepreneurial business woman has already collected close to 50 shoe boxes filled with an array of anonymous gifts. At least another dozen are ready to be picked up, and the residents of Shirley have also rounded up a dozen.

According to the central website (shoeboxproject.com), each shoebox is filled with items valued at $50 that a woman would enjoy but would not splurge on for herself in difficult times. These shoeboxes brighten the holiday season and let the women know they are special and not forgotten. Putting together a shoebox is easy and this small gesture of kindness is very much appreciated by its recipient.

Suggested contents include things like hand and body lotion, mascara, lipstick, nail polish, dental and hair care products, nut-free chocolates, phone cards and local area gift certificates.

Please don’t wrap the box as all items must be checked for security reasons. A ribbon that can be undone and re-done adds a nice touch, or you can wrap the box so that it opens and closes with the wrapping still intact.

The Shoebox Project was founded in 2011 by four sisters-in-law – Caroline Mulroney Lapham and Jessica, Vanessa and Katy Mulroney. In two short years, the Shoebox Project has hit the ground running. Last year, thanks to the generosity of countless Canadians in December 2012, the Shoebox Project delivered close to 2,700 gifts to 2,700 women in shelters and outreach programs across the country. Anyone interested in creating a shoebox for giving still has time. Ferguson will be dropping off all the shoeboxes she’s collected just before Christmas.

“It’s not just for Victoria, it’s also for Langford and Sooke,” stressed Ferguson.

To contribute, you can reach Ferguson at 250-507-7723. Contact information for other Island coordinators can be found at shoeboxproject.com/victoria.html.