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This article was published 10/11/2014 (1836 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s amazing how much difference a shoebox can make.
The Manitoba Shoebox Project is back again this year after a highly-successful campaign in 2013, when community members collected enough items to assemble 1,393 shoeboxes that were distributed to more than 30 organizations, such as women’s shelters and outreach programs across the province.
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. There are several sister shoebox projects across Canada.
MSP’s founder and key organizer, Eva Whitmore, said the goal of the volunteer-driven project is to brighten the holiday season for women who sometimes need reminding "they are special and not forgotten."
"The idea is provide little luxuries for women in need that they couldn’t buy for themselves in their current situation to make them feel that someone cares. Each box is filled with items values at $50 that a woman would enjoy, but not splurge on for herself in difficult times," said Whitmore, 63, who lives in St. Vital.
"In terms of the response of women last year, many of them said it wasn’t necessarily what was in the boxes, but more the fact that someone cares."
The long list of items individuals can donate includes body and hand lotion; perfume; makeup, such as mascara, lipstick and nail polish; toiletries, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, floss and deodorant; bath products, such as bodywash, shower gel, bubble bath, shampoo and rinse; nut-free chocolates; cookies; candy; tea; mitts; hat; scarf; bus tickets; notebooks and pens; gift certificates to stores (please include the receipt or indicate the value of the card); and an inspirational card or quote.
Prohibited items include mouthwash and alcohol-based products, such as chocolates filled with alcohol, Whitmore said, noting that donations of wrapping paper are also appreciated.
Shoeboxes can be dropped off until Sun., Nov. 30 at several locations across the city during business hours. Drop-off locations in the southeast include Whitmore’s home (by pre-arrangement) and Louis Riel Library (1168 Dakota St.).
Other locations include Henderson Library (1-1050 Henderson Hwy.); Transcona Library (111 Victoria Ave. West); Westwood Library (66 Allard Ave.); Pembina Trails Library (2724 Pembina Hwy.); 103.1 Virgin Radio (1445 Pembina Hwy.); and Headingley Municipal Library (49 Alboro St.).
Organizations set to benefit from the shoeboxes include Agape Table, Alpha House, Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre; Pluri-Elles (Manitoba) Inc. and Wolseley Family Place — to name a few.
When Whitmore first heard about the project from a friend, she realized it was a good fit for her on several levels.
"I’ve done a lot of volunteering in the past and I was looking for something that suited me. I have a lot of compassion for these women, so it seemed like the right fit. "Working under pressure within a timeline also suits me, as I’m an organizer rather than a fundraiser," Whitmore said.
Whitmore also noted the contribution of several local businesses in the packaging and distribution process.
"The companies that have been most helpful are Gardewine Group and Birkett Freight Solutions, who delivered to all the remote communities and the ones on the Trans-Canada Highway last year free of charge. This year, I have donations of cartons from Kemel Cartons and Mid West Packaging."
For more information, email Whitmore at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.shoeboxproject.com/manitoba.html
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7111