November 27, 2022

Sudbury’s Shoebox Project For Women Is Well Underway

Article by: CTV News Northern Ontario

The Shoebox Project was founded in Toronto more than a decade ago and has since grown into a national organization that hands out thousands of shoeboxes to women and girls that are either living in shelters or homeless across the country.

Organizers in Sudbury said this program was put together to bring a smile to women and girls who don’t typically have anything or anyone reaching out to them during the holiday season.

“Often these ladies end up feelings alone, isolated, they might be estranged from their families and the shoebox really just gives them a little bit of a pick up,” said Jeanine Piché, the local co-ordinator for the project.

“It’s a small gesture, it’s a kind gesture and it’s immediate impact.”

Organizers told CTV News that each box is filled with $50 worth of essential and feel-good items for women.

“We have hygiene products, we have hats, mitts, scarves and then of course some feel good stuff too like make-up, or nail polish, lipstick, or maybe even some candy, just something that they wouldn’t normally have,” said Piché.

The shoeboxes will be handed out to around a dozen agencies within the city.

One of them being, the Sudbury Women’s Centre.

“It helps our clients with the basic needs that they need and it’s a little something, especially over the holidays that really helps them out and brightens their days,” said Giulia Carpenter, the executive director of the centre.

“It has those special touches in them, like some of them have little messages on them from the donors.”

Shoebox Project organizers in Sudbury said this year, the need is greater than ever before.

“We’ve gone from 225-250 to 444 have been requested this year. Obviously what we tell all the agencies is that we’ll do the best we can with what we get. If we don’t hit our goal then we either have to reduce the number of boxes that goes to all the agencies or pick and choose between agencies,” said Piché.

At this time, the group is asking for help from the community as donations are lower than they had hoped.

“This year we’re struggling, we really need everybody to reach deep into their pockets,” added Piché.

“I hate asking because I know everybody is struggling this year and I know that everything has gone up but if you can find it in your heart to even donate a few items and we can put the boxes together.”

Piché said that a number of groups and organizations have jumped on board for the first time this year but she said is hoping more help will reach out in order to meet this year’s target.

“We’ve actually had a number of companies come forward and have parties and they’ve handed together. Gateway Casino gave us 25 boxes, Girl Guides actually got together and they had a little thing that they did with their girls where they had to budget, shop and then put the shoeboxes together. We also have a school program now so schools can get on board. I’m really hoping that more of the community is going to come through for us this year.”

There are three drop-off locations in Greater Sudbury, Stich & Stone on the Kingsway, Reliable Maintenance Products on Regent Street and Beard’s Coffee Bar and Bakery on Kathleen Street.

The shoeboxes are being collected until Dec. 3.

For more information, to make a donation, or to see how what to see the must-haves for the shoeboxes, click here.

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