Kirsten Zaleschuk, Women’s Support Worker holding her puppy Ella (left), took delivery of shoeboxes for the Campbell River & North Island Transition Society from Alison Skrepneck, local Coordinator for The Campbell River Shoebox Project.

Local women in need to enjoy shoebox gifts

The Campbell River Shoebox Project for Women is wrapping up for another year.

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of many community members, once again local women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will enjoy gifts of personal items this holiday season. This year over 500 gift-filled Shoeboxes were delivered in Campbell River and the North Island to shelters and outreach agencies which serve women in need.

Over 440 brightly-decorated Shoeboxes filled with personal items and little luxuries were recently delivered to the following shelters and agencies in Campbell River who in turn give the gifts to vulnerable women prior to Christmas: Campbell River and North Island Transition Society, Radiant Life Outreach, Salvation Army Evergreen House, AIDS Vancouver Island, Campbell River Women’s Resource Centre, Salvation Army Lighthouse Family Services, John Howard/Foundry, Opportunities Advocacy Services Centre, Immigrant Welcome Centre, Laichwiltach Family Life Society, Campbell River Public Health, as well as Campbell River Family Services, Community Health Services, Sobering and Assessment Centre and Campbell River Literacy Association.

Marina Hargrave, project lead in the North Island, was kept busy collecting and delivering Shoeboxes in her community through the North Island Crisis & Counselling Centre Society. The goal was surpassed in the North Island again this year, about 70 Shoeboxes were collected for local women in need.

A woman receiving a Shoebox gift is reminded that she has not been forgotten and that she remains a valued and respected member of her community. Through tears and hugs, one woman said when she received her Shoebox gift, “I’m going to put this under the tree because I never get any gifts for Christmas.”

Many individuals, families, coworkers, groups and businesses got involved this year providing gift filled Shoeboxes for local women in need.

Alison Skrepneck, local Coordinator for The Campbell River Shoebox Project for Women said, “The response has been incredible this year! People want to help those who are less fortunate and providing Shoebox gifts for local vulnerable women is a meaningful way of doing so.”

When a person makes the effort to assemble a gift for a woman who is homeless or at risk of homelessness, it brings to mind the challenges she may be facing and the many obstacles to overcome. A member of the community wrote, “I love this fundraiser! It has become my Christmas donation of choice since it all stays right here.”

It took many giving members of the community and businesses to support this worthwhile project. Local

Coordinator Skrepneck thanked a whole list of people:

  • Everyone who filled Shoeboxes with personal items for the women and those who donated extra items.
  • Youth who filled and decorated Shoeboxes for the women including students at Phoenix School Middle School.
  • Enthusiastic volunteers who helped collect, sort, decorate and deliver Shoeboxes to shelters and outreach agencies.
  • Dan Samson for use of commercial space for storing and sorting the Shoeboxes.
  • All in One Party Shop for use of tables and C&L Rentals for use of a heater.
  • Those who helped promote the project.

The Drop off locations: Coastal Community Credit Union in Discovery Harbour, La Tee Da Lingerie and Sundance Java Bar in Campbell River, and North Island Crisis & Counselling Centre Society in Port Hardy.

Businesses that collected items for the Shoeboxes including Ocean Mountain Yoga, Vital Roots Wellness, La Tee Da Lingerie, The Cottage, French Creek Collective, Ragdolz and Payless Shoes.

Businesses that donated women’s personal items to include in the Shoeboxes including Save on Foods in Campbell River, Shoppers Drug Mart Tyee Plaza, and dental supplies from Dr. Lathangue and Dr. Seebach.

This was the sixth year for the project in Campbell River and the second year in the North Island. The project has grown over the years and members of the community have responded to the increased need by filling Shoeboxes and donating personal items and little luxuries for local disadvantaged women. The goal of 375 Shoeboxes for Campbell River and the North Island was surpassed once again this year. The Shoebox gifts valuing more than $25,000 were distributed to local women in need in time for the holidays.

The Shoebox Project for Women, supported by Dream, collects and distributes gifts in the form of shoeboxes to women who are homeless or at high risk of homelessness. Each Shoebox is filled with items valued at 50 dollars that can enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation for a woman in crisis. Founded in 2011 by Caroline, Jessica, Katy and Vanessa Mulroney, The Shoebox Project now delivers 40,000 gifts annually to hundreds of communities across North America. For more information go to www.shoeboxproject.com

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