Only a few days before its December first deadline, the local Shoebox Project is still about 800 boxes short.

The project calls on residents to put together a box of items for a woman in need ahead of the holiday season. 

“They are for women who are living in shelters, experiencing homelessness, estranged from their families possibly, or just struggling,” says Jennifer Stevenson, co-coordinator for the Muskoka Shoebox Project. “They will always give something more to their children and leave themselves last, and the project really is to make her feel special and valued at a time like Christmas.”

Stevenson says boxes should consist of brand new “little luxury items” that women would appreciate but might not be able to afford. That includes warm items such as hats or socks, treats, cosmetics, simple jewelry, and hygiene items, up to a value of about $50 per box.

According to Stevenson, they’ve received about 600 boxes so far of the 1,400 box goal, but she is optimistic residents will come through. Everything gathered in Muskoka, she says, stays in Muskoka.

“In the small communities like our beautiful Muskoka, I sort of feel like it’s grassroots, because it really is a community project.” says Stevenson. “We facilitate the collection of the boxes, but it’s the generosity of people that come together, whether in a group or individually, and put together beautiful boxes for a woman in need in our community.”

Stevenson adds that if you can’t find a shoebox, you can drop off the items in a bag for volunteers to box and wrap. Donations of individual items are also welcome. You can also create a “virtual shoebox” on the project website and make a donation to have the items purchased and wrapped on your behalf.  Boxes will be given to several community organizations to distribute. 

You can drop off the boxes at:

  • Bala: Johnston & Daniels Realty
  • Port Carling: Johnston & Daniels Realty, Muskoka Lakes Public Library
  • Bracebridge: Royal Lepage, Becker Shoes, Hive Fitness, Muskoka Paint and Decorating, Muskoka Natural Food Market, Katalyst Brewing
  • Huntsville: Royal Lepage, Becker Shoes
  • Gravenhurst: Royal Lepage