Ahead of the holiday season, the Muskoka Shoebox Project is back in action.
The project calls on residents to donate a shoebox filled with “little luxuries” that women in a tight spot would appreciate, but might not be able to afford.
Jennifer Stevenson, Volunteer Coordinator for the project, says that includes things such as hygiene or cosmetic items, warm apparel, simple jewelry, gift cards, and sweet treats such as chocolate. According to Stevenson, donated items should be brand new, to a limit of around $50 per box.
“People have had to really cut back. They are not able to afford even the little essentials that we call luxuries,” says Stevenson. “It’s nice to be able to reach out and do something to put a smile on someone’s face.”
Stevenson says that even when women can afford to buy these items, they will often treat other people before themselves.
“It’s nice to give a special gift to help elevate someone’s self worth, and make them feel that they are cared for and respected,” says Stevenson. “A lot of times, women put themselves behind their kids or their families, so it’s nice to do something just for them.”
If you can’t find a shoebox, Stevenson says you can drop off individual items for volunteers to box and wrap. If you don’t have time to shop, you can create a “virtual shoebox” on the project website and donate money to have the box assembled on your behalf.
The deadline for donations is Dec. 1, after which the boxes go to 14 community organizations to distribute throughout Muskoka. This year’s goal is 1,235 boxes.
You can drop off items at:
- Bracebridge: Royal LePage, Becker Shoes, Muskoka Paint and Decorating, Muskoka Natural Food Market, Katalyst Brewing
- Huntsville: Royal LePage, Becker Shoes
- Gravenhurst: Royal LePage
- Port Carling: Johnston & Daniels Realty, Muskoka Lakes Public Library
- Bala: Johnston & Daniels Realty