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

First council candidate is missing

RCMP asks that anyone with information contact them immediately

Junior A hockey coming to Sooke

Exhibition game helps the Rotary Club to help community youth

Life-Altering experience

Six weeks that served to change their view of the world

Cross-examination begins for Oak Bay dad accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Arenas, fitness centre ready for action after significant flood at Saanich recreation centre

Library branch, archives remain closed after Thursday night flood

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Retired Vancouver Island teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Patrick Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Most Read