Do you ever have a moment when you feel like you’re so fortunate, and you really need to find more ways to give back? I had one of these flashes a few weeks ago, and decided that I wanted to get involved with The Shoebox Project this Christmas season, bringing shoeboxes of love to women in local shelters – so here I am, spreading the word and filling boxes, and I will be helping to distribute them in my local community.

The Shoebox Project was created by Caroline Mulroney and her three sisters-in-law, Jessica, Vanessa, and Katy.

Each thoughtfully created and wrapped Shoebox is filled with items with a total value of approximately $50, and gets delivered to a local shelter just in time for Christmas. A Shoebox gift is a powerful reminder for a woman that she has not been forgotten and that she remains a valued and respected member of her community.

The simplest way to help is to make a Shoebox (click for all the instructions). Regular-sized shoeboxes (not large boot ones or small children’s ones) with detachable lids work best (you will wrap both pieces). You can also buy a decorative box with a lid at the dollar store which will be just as nice.

Suggested Items to include:
  • Something warm: socks, mitts, scarf, hat, hand warmers
  • Something sweet: nut-free chocolate and candy (not alcohol-filled)
  • Cough drops, multivitamins
  • Body or hand lotion, soaps, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • Brush, comb, shampoo, conditioner
  • Nail polish, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, lip balm
  • Purse-sized Kleenex, small cosmetic bag
  • Gift cards (Tim Hortons, Shoppers, McDonalds, etc.)
    • Please write the amount on the card or include the receipt
  • Subway tokens and bus tickets
  • Journals, colouring books, pens, coloured pencils
  • Supportive message
Please do NOT Include:
  • Used goods and hotel samples are not the type of items to make someone feel special and loved
  • Sized clothing (i.e. S, M, L, XL) should not be included because beautiful women come in all different sizes
  • Mouthwash or hand-sanitizers containing alcohol
  • Bubble bath or bath bombs, as most shelters do not have bathtubs
  • Candles
  • Foundations or concealers should not be included because each person has a unique skin tone
  • Razors
  • Jumbo-sized containers
  • Books
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Anything opened or not packaged

Then, find a drop-off location near you!

Co-Founder Jessica Mulroney (fashion and bridal stylist, wife of Ben, mom of three, also known as Meghan Markle’s BFF), says, “One of the main objectives of The Shoebox Project is to connect people. Living in a shelter or relying on social services can be extremely isolating, and many women feel like they’ve been forgotten by society. Receiving a beautifully-decorated gift with a meaningful note inside can help a woman realize that she belongs to a caring community and that she is not alone.”

Perhaps filling an entire shoebox isn’t an option for you this year – why not join together with friends, colleagues, book club, hockey team moms, etc.? Each person brings an item, and you fill the box together!

Of course it’s also great to get your kids involved when it comes to giving back!

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about how to support The Shoebox Project!

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