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Campbell River/North Island Shoebox Project Holiday Drive deemed success

11th year for The Shoebox Project in Campbell River and the seventh year for Port Hardy/North Island
The Shoebox Project volunteers at the Maritime Heritage Centre which hosted the project again this year. Left to right: Linda Carlson, Sue McCormac, Margaret West, Lucy Roseboom, Alison Skrepneck (project coordinator), Jane Clark, Jackie Leigh, Jeannie Mathews and Monique Foster. (Submitted photo)

Some Chrismas spirit has been delivered this season through shoeboxes.

The Campbell River Shoebox Project Holiday Drive has been deemed a success this year according to a press release on Dec. 14, after roughly 530 shoeboxes have been delivered to vulnerable women in Campbell River and the North Island.

“I’m very pleased with the response in Campbell River, especially, we have not seen such an outpouring of support in Campbell River since before the pandemic,” said local coordinator Alison Skrepneck. “In Campbell River, besides receiving a large number of brightly decorated shoebox gifts valuing $50, we received more financial donations than in previous years.”

The project looked for sales of personal items and little ‘luxuries’ to create the shoeboxes in an effort to stretch the money as far as they could to deliver as many as possible.

Each box will contain gifts or gift cards valuing $50, according to Skrepneck. The total value of all is over $26,500.

The Campbell River Shoebox Project Holiday Drive was targeting a goal of 570 shoebox deliveries this season, with 450 for Campbell River and 120 for Port Hardy and the rest of the North Island.

“In Port Hardy/North Island, however, the response from the community of gift-filled shoeboxes was down again this year, likely due to the high cost of living making it hard for people to make ends meet for themselves. We were fortunate to receive some dedicated funding for Port Hardy/North Island, meaning that about 75 vulnerable women in the North Island area will receive Shoebox gifts or Gift cards valuing $50 this year,” says Skrepneck.

In total, 460 women in Campbell River and 75 in Port Hardy/North Island will receive the shoeboxes, which contain essentials, little luxuries and a $10 gift card to a grocery store or drug store.

“I was invited to The Shoebox Party open house at the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society recently and talked to some of the women who received shoeboxes that day. One woman told me that it isn’t the value of the Shoebox gift that means so much, but instead that someone in the community that she doesn’t even know cares,” said Skrepneck. “Besides donors in the community wanting to help those who are less fortunate, I was very touched to hear of several women who had received shoeboxes last year and donated this year to women in need, as well as women who received a shoebox this year and want to give back next year, as they know how much it means to receive a shoebox gift.”

This was the 11th year for The Shoebox Project in Campbell River and the seventh year for Port Hardy/North Island.

Shoebox gifts were delivered to the following shelters and community agencies in Campbell River: Campbell River and North Island Transition Society which includes Campbell River Women’s Resource Centre, Salvation Army Evergreen House, AIDS Vancouver Island, Salvation Army Lighthouse Family Services, John Howard/Foundry, Opportunities Advocacy Services Centre, Immigrant Welcome Centre, Laichwiltach Family Life Society AIDP Program and Kwesa Place, Campbell River Public Health, Vancouver Mental Health Society, Campbell River Food Bank, and Stopping the Violence Outreach Program in Campbell River and Gold River.