For local vulnerable women, a small gift can make a big difference this holiday season.
The Shoebox Project is in its tenth year as an initiative to remind women facing hardships in the community know people are thinking of them, said Alison Skrepneck, project coordinator.
“Women who are marginalized, disadvantaged or vulnerable in the community often don’t have much,” said Skrepneck. “So this project is aimed at them and can really improve their sense of caring from the community and increase their self esteem.”
Typically, those wanting to participate in the project fill a box with gifts and other items, which are then donated to local women in need. But because of the pandemic, both this year and last, the organization decided to give gift cards instead.
“Although it may not be as hands-on and personal, it still means a lot and gives these women a feeling that they belong — and that someone who doesn’t even know them has thought of them,” she said.
Last year, the program delivered $15,000 worth of gifts to 15 organizations between Campbell River and North Island / Port Hardy.
This year’s goal is to collect 525 gift cards, each containing a $50 value.
Gift cards — along with an inspirational message — can be dropped off starting Nov. 12 until Dec. 8.
In Campbell River, gift cards can be dropped off at Coastal Community Credit Union (Discovery Harbour), La Tee Da Lingerie (Shoppers Row), or Coho Books (Willow Point). In Port Hardy, they can be dropped off at the North Island Crisis & Counselling Centre Society (Beverly Parnham Way).
The Campbell River Shoebox Project can be reached at email@example.com, by calling 250-203-9360 or on Facebook. In Port Hardy, Marina can be reached at 250-230-7598.
Skrepneck said she has heard some very emotional stories over the years of those receiving gifts through the program.
“For many, this is the only gift that they get.”