First things first: This year's Shoebox Project Vancouver deadline is December 5th.
OMG DECEMBER 5 IS NINE DAYS AWAY you guys!!!
Why is the deadline so early? Because the shelters have requested that we get the boxes to them earlier so that they have them sorted through and available for their seasonal parties in mid-December.
So if you're interested in putting together some Shoebox love this year, this weekend is a good time to do it!
Katr has a great post up on her blog with all of the Shoebox Project details but here's a Coles notes version.
What is the Shoebox Project for Shelters?
The Shoebox Project for Shelters is a not-for-profit initiative that collects small gifts that are packaged in shoeboxes, and distributes them to women who are spending the holidays in shelters. These shelters provide emergency and transitional shelter and services to women who are homeless because they are fleeing abuse or difficult living situations, because they are poor or afflicted with mental illness or because they are new Canadians who require assistance.
These shoeboxes brighten the holiday season and let the women know they are special and not forgotten. That their community cares about them. That someone went shopping and put together a pretty box of nice things with them in mind. The boxes are filled with little luxuries that a woman would enjoy but would not splurge on for herself in times of difficulty.
How awesome is the Shoebox Project?
Yeah, pretty awesome.
What should go in my shoebox?
Each shoebox should have an approximate value of $50. Here are the official tips for what to include in your shoebox:
- Nice socks, gloves, scarves, or hat
- Compact (travel) umbrella
- Rain ponchos
- Gift cards in $10 or $20 (coffee shops, drug stores, movie theatre, grocery stores - include receipts!)
- Anything chocolate or candy
- Full bottles of personal care products - a nice lotion, body wash or scrub
- Hair stuff: brushes, hair ties, clips
- Simple jewelry: earrings or bracelet
- High-end razor (e.g. Venus)
- Face pads/cleansers
- An inspirational card or note in the box
- If you are crafty and make your own jewelry or knit or sew, handmade items are welcome!
I also have some personal tips for what NOT to include in your shoebox. As some of you may recall, I lost my shit a little bit in my rant about this last year but in the end, it comes down to three basic "don'ts":
- Don't include items that are used
- Don't include items that are old
- Don't include items that are used or old
Shoeboxes! They are a fun group project.
This year a lot of folks are making shoeboxes a group effort. This project lends itself well to all kinds of groups of humans, such as:
- Co-worker groups
- Crafting groups
- Religious groups
- Book clubs
- Hiking clubs
- Bowling teams
- Friends who like doing stuff together
The great thing about taking a group approach is that if putting a $50 gift together is prohibitive, you can team up with a group and each contribute, say, a $10 item to a box.
What if I can't put a whole box together but I have a few things I'd like to contribute?
We're very happy to receive loose items that we can use to supplement other boxes - we try to make sure that every Shoebox recipient gets an equally excellent box, so having extra candy or lip glosses or a couple of pairs of earrings to tuck into a box is very welcome!
Where can I drop off my box (heh heh "box")?
You can drop them off at my house! Or any of the Vancouver drop-off locations.
I'm thrilled to report that last year's boxes were a huge improvement over the first year and this year, every box we've received so far has been beautiful. We got 400 boxes last year and we're hoping to get a whopping 750 this year - so every contribution helps!
Questions? Concerns? Leave a comment or check out the Shoebox Project Vancouver page for contact info!