Just ahead of its Dec. 1 deadline, the Muskoka Shoebox Project is still over 1000 boxes short.
Heather Scott, coordinator for the project, says they had hoped to raise 1,556 shoeboxes filled with items for women in need, but they’re currently at 342. She says the start of month deadline is now a soft target, as there’s “a lot of work to do,” but she’s still confident they can hit the number.
“I refuse to give up hope that we will hit the goal, but I know everything’s a little bit tighter in the community,” says Scott. “Prices are still higher for everybody, so I know it’s harder. But I do believe that Muskoka is a very generous community, and we all can come together, and we will meet this goal.”
The project sees residents put together a shoebox filled with “little luxuries” that woman in a tight spot might appreciate but not prioritize for themselves. 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.
“Something soft, something sweet, something sparkly, something fun,” says Scott.
Scott says many women will prioritize the people around them over themselves at this time of year, and it’s important to show them that somebody is paying attention.
“Mothers would do anything to make sure their kids have a great holiday season, but they’re often overlooked,” says Scott. “So by doing this we’re giving mothers, and women who have come from violent or abusive homes, something just to brighten their day and maybe spark a little kindness. To know that somebody cares for them.”
If you can’t find a shoebox, you can drop off the items in a bag for volunteers to box and wrap. 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. Scott says this year’s boxes will be distributed by 17 different community organizations throughout Muskoka, such as food banks, advocacy groups, and social supports.
You can drop off the boxes at:
- Bala: Johnston & Daniels Realty, Muskoka Lakes Public Library
- Bracebridge: Royal LePage, Becker Shoes, Muskoka Paint and Decorating, Muskoka Natural Food Market, Katalyst Brewing
- Gravenhurst: Royal LePage
- Huntsville: Royal LePage, Becker Shoes
- Port Carling: Johnston & Daniels Realty, Muskoka Lakes Public Library
- Port Sydney: David’s General Store Inc.