Project on until Dec. 3 and the goal this year is to have 1,200 boxes to donate

By Anjuli Patil, CBC News Posted: Nov 20, 2016 

Examples of things to include in a shoebox.

Examples of things to include in a shoebox.

The Halifax Shoebox Project is aiming to gather 1,200 shoeboxes full of everything from shampoo and conditioner to chocolate and a friendly note to give out to womens’ shelters this Christmas.

“People are very happy to be receiving something because at some of the shelters we work with, that’s all they’re getting for Christmas,” said Carole Rankin, coordinator of the Shoebox Project Halifax.

Halifax’s Shoebox Project began in 2012 and Rankin said she is trying to raise its profile. People can donate by filling a shoebox with things from a list of suggested items and dropping them off at one of six locationsaround HRM until Dec. 3.

‘Really generous’

“We have some partners who have been really generous. Redken has donated 100 conditioner and shampoo [bottles] for the shoeboxes. But for the most part it’s just the public,” said Rankin. “There’s people doing drives among their own friends or church groups or book clubs, things like that.”

Halifax Shoebox Project

Halifax Shoebox Project volunteers preparing boxes on Sunday. (Paul Légère/Radio-Canada)

Rankin said many of the items in the box are luxuries to the women who receive them.

“Christmas can be a stressful time for anyone but I think it’s important we acknowledge that there are people going through really difficult times … I think it’s important to look past our own stresses during that time and think of someone else,” she said.

‘Building something for someone’

What sets the Shoebox Project apart from other charities is the physical aspect of putting one together, Rankin said.

Halifax Shoebox Project Coordinator Carole Rankin

Halifax Shoebox Project coordinator Carole Rankin.

“You’re not just writing a cheque or giving money to something, you’re building something for someone. You’re thinking of someone while you’re doing it and you have this great opportunity to literally tell someone you’re thinking of them and that you’re rooting for them,” she said.

“It’s a really emotional experience for people to know that people are thinking of them. It’s not about the physical things, it’s the fact people put effort in this for them.”

Suggested items to include in a shoebox:

  • 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 tissues, small cosmetic bag
  • Gift cards (Tim Hortons, Shoppers, McDonalds, etc. Please write the amount on the card or include the receipt)
  • Bus tickets
  • Journals, colouring books, pens, coloured pencils
  • Supportive message