Fill a shoebox for women in need


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This article was published 28/11/2016 (2372 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A key organizer of a project to help women living in shelters during the holidays is hoping the initiative will be a shoe-in with community members.

The Shoebox Project for Shelters, supported by Dream, which is now in its fourth season in Manitoba, will run until Dec. 5. Organizers say the goal of the project is to fill and decorate shoeboxes with $50-worth of “little luxuries” and deliver them to women living in Manitoba shelters.

For women who have been displaced from their homes, the holidays can be an especially difficult time, so the small gesture of filling a shoebox, decorating it and including an inspirational card can have a big impact on the woman who receives it because it reminds the recipient that someone is thinking about her and she hasn’t been forgotten.

Simon Fuller Alex Todd, the incoming co-ordinator of the Shoebox for Shelters, supported by Dream, believes in helping give back to the community.

The original project was founded in 2011 by former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s daughter, Caroline Mulroney Lapham, and her sisters-in-law Jessica, Vanessa and Katy Mulroney, which inspired numerous sister shoebox projects across Canada.

This year, the founder of the Manitoba Shoebox Project, St. Vital resident Eva Whitmore, is working alongside incoming co-ordinator Alex Todd before completely handing over the reins to Todd next year.

The headquarters for the project is St. Eugene Parish, located at 1007 St. Mary’s Rd.

“I grew up in a family that was very giving to the community and I think it’s important to have a lot of compassion and empathy with women going through difficult times,” Todd said.

“This project focuses its attention on women during the holidays. When you think of victims of abuse or addictions, especially those women displaced from their homes and kids, they can often feel isolated and lonely. The goal is to try and put a smile on someone’s face, which is such a reward.”

Todd said organizers are looking to receive shoeboxes with a value of $50, give or take, and items can include basic necessities such as deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush. Donors can also consider items considered “luxuries in challenging situations” such as body lotions, soaps, makeup mitts, hats, toques and scarves.

“A key thing is to encourage donors to include a personal message or note that’s inspirational or encouraging. Some of the recipients are amazed someone out there would take the time to think of them. The whole experience is very humbling,” Todd said.

Donors are also asked not to wrap their box so it can’t be opened or wrap items inside the box, as it must be opened and inspected before it can be distributed.

Todd is thankful for the support of many individuals, groups and organizations, including organizers at the parish.

She also highlighted the contribution of Gardewine Group and Birkett Freight Solutions for their help with the deliveries.

Go online at for more information, including a list of accepted items and shoebox drop-off locations.
Twitter: @lanceWPG

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at or call him at 204-697-7111.

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