Linda Ferguson showing what a Shoebox gift set looks like. Notice the individually-wrapped shoebox and lid for that added personal look.

Linda Ferguson showing what a Shoebox gift set looks like. Notice the individually-wrapped shoebox and lid for that added personal look.

Love is a shoebox away

Vancouver Island Shoebox Project helps women in need

Something as simple as a pair of warm gloves, a soft scarf and even a pair of earrings and some lipstick may seem trivial, but to a woman who’s lost everything and has been reduced to living on cold winter streets – it’s the world.

This was the idea behind the launch of the Vancouver Island Shoebox Project in 2011, which provides women in shelters with special items that otherwise they couldn’t afford.

But a shoebox is much more than that – it’s to make someone feel human and like a woman, again.

“This [shoebox] was something special these women couldn’t buy themselves, and that it would make them feel loved,” said Linda Ferguson, coordinator of the shoebox project on the Island, who added that every holiday season these groups of women in need and in transition seem to fall through the cracks of shelter programs.

Items can be something that feels good and can provide relative warmth and comfort for the winter, such as mitts, scarves, hats, socks, as well as more feminine items such as perfume, nail polish, earrings, lipstick and lip gloss. Items in past shoeboxes also had bus passes, gift cards to coffee and food shops – basically anything a woman who lives in a shelter can use.

Ferguson suggested other items, such as nail care kits or other sharp utensils should be avoided however – alcohol-based mouthwash, too.

Prepping a shoebox is simple, though the lid has to be wrapped separately in order to fit tightly and keep it from spilling open during storage and distribution. Each box is then individually checked by the administrators of each shelter to ensure its contents are safe and are tailored to each individual.

This is the third year Ferguson will run the program on the Island. Before, she was involved in a similar project in Vancouver, as a Sooke resident, she felt there wasn’t one here on the Island and decided to do something about it.

Last year, 624 shoeboxes were collected and distributed via 13 shelters on the Lower Island, from Sooke to Sidney. The goal this year is to have 1,000 boxes.

Twenty shelters will also be coming onboard, and around 30 drop off locations will be available across the region. Shoppers Drug Mart and Pacific Family Services in Sooke are drop-off locations.

While successful, Ferguson said the project’s biggest challenge so far has been available storage space, though this year multiple people have donated some storage units and space in their garages.

For a more complete list of items, as well as how you create a shoebox contribution, please go online to  shoeboxproject.com.

 

 

Just Posted

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 4 deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Most Read