shoebox project for shelters: kind things in small packages

Felix Chan ~ www.flexphotography.ca

We’re always looking for easy ways to get our kids involved in charitable activities in the community. Especially during the holidays when there is so much focus on getting, we feel it’s important to make sure giving is part of the picture. But the holidays are so busy and rushed that sometimes it can be a struggle to find the time!

That’s one reason we like the Shoebox Project for Shelters. Founded in 2011, the Canada-wide charity Shoebox Project for Shelters collects shoeboxes filled with little luxuries to give to women in shelters this holiday season. Luxuries include nice lotions and potions, haircare products, makeup, nail polish, pretty earrings, chocolate, personal care products – items a woman doesn’t have access to, or the means to purchase, during a difficult time; things that make her feel special and lets her know that the community cares.

Filling a shoebox can be easily accomplished with a trip to Shoppers, London Drugs or similar. We enjoy helping our kids pick out items to go into a shoebox – sometimes with a theme (everything red and green!), sometimes not. And then once we get home, they decorate the shoebox, fill it and include a friendly holiday greeting. It’s a great way to generate conversations around giving back and while helping your kids feel as if they are making a difference in someone’s life.

There are 30 communities across Canada participating in a Shoebox drive this holiday season. They all have slightly different collection dates and drop-off points. Most are collecting through December 5th (including Vancouver) so if you’re intrigued it’s definitely time to get cracking! You can find all the information under Locations on the Shoebox Project’s website.

The Shoebox Project requests that the value of a box be around $50 (all items should be new or unused); if that breaks the budget this time of year, you can  always split the cost with another family or pool the resources of your book club or other group to make a few boxes! Heck, why not turn your holiday events that happen before the deadline in your city into a “shoebox soiree”?

For tips and tricks and 5 simple steps to creating a successful shoebox, click here.

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