That’s the giv­ing spirit

Shoe­box cam­paign will brighten some­one’s day

Simcoe Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - MONTE SONNENBERG

Christ­mas is a great time of the year made even bet­ter by the op­por­tu­nity to help the less for­tu­nate.

Christ­mas can be espe­cially dif­fi­cult for those who are en­du­ing a rough patch in their life. That pretty much de­scribes every woman rid­ing out the year in a women’s shel­ter.

Three years ago, Libby Ward of Haldimand County took stock of the sit­u­a­tion and de­cided to help. She launched a Haldimand­nor­folk chap­ter of The Shoe­box Project for Shel­ters.

Over the past two Christ­mases, Ward has col­lected and dis­trib­uted hun­dreds of dec­o­rated shoe­boxes filled with lit­tle treats and trea­sures de­signed to make a strug­gling woman feel less alone and a lit­tle more pos­i­tive about the fu­ture.

Ward an­nounced this week that she is back for a third Christ­mas. Last year, Ward dis­trib­uted 300 Christ­mas shoe­boxes. Her goal this year is 350.

“I keep do­ing it be­cause I want to make a dif­fer­ence in my com­mu­nity,” says Ward, who works as an ed­u­ca­tion as­sis­tant in Cale­do­nia.

“I want to brighten peo­ple’s lives at a dif­fi­cult time and give them hope. I’ve seen the ef­fect this has and it keeps me go­ing.”

The char­i­ta­ble ini­tia­tive started in Toronto in 2011 with 400 shoe­box gifts at four women’s shel­ters.

Last year, 252 com­mu­ni­ties in Canada and the United States took part. A to­tal of 36,500 women in need had their Christ­mases bright­ened with shoe­box gifts.

Over the past six years, or­ga­niz­ers have come up with a set of rules and guide­lines for ben­e­fi­cial gift­giv­ing.

To be­gin, or­ga­niz­ers ask donors to limit the value of shoe­box con­tents to $50.

donors are asked to find a sturdy shoe box and dec­o­rate the bot­tom and lid sep­a­rately with gift-qual­ity wrap­ping pa­per. han­dlers must in­spect the con­tents so the boxes should not be de­liv­ered sealed.

en­closed within should be an ar­ray of prac­ti­cal and de­light­ful items. ex­am­ples in­clude ba­sic make-up, a warm pair of socks, a gift card per­haps, sham­poo, play­ing cards, hair ties, tran­sit tokens, fancy tea and choco­late.

The shoe­box Project asks that all items be new and in their orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing. No used, opened or prod­uct sam­ples are al­lowed. sized c lot hing(s,m,L, XL) is dis­cour­aged, as are sharp ob­jects or any­thing con­tain­ing al­co­hol.

Per­haps most im­por­tant of all, donors are also asked to en­close a warm, sup­port­ive mes­sage con­vey­ing sen­ti­ments one would want to share with some­one who is feel­ing lonely and iso­lated. When peo­ple are en­dur­ing a tough time, they oc­ca­sion­ally need to be re­minded that they are val­ued and that bet­ter times lie ahead.

The dead­line for sub­mit­ting a shoe­box is fri­day, dec. 1.

drop-off lo­ca­tions in­clude Prom­i­nent homes at the cor­ner of ire­land road and the Queensway east in simcoe, Ty-kobee Tea & cof­fee in Port dover, Nigh’s con­crete in Jarvis, pub­lic li­braries in dun­nville and cale­do­nia, and The Thrift shoppe in Port rowan.

The shoe boxes will be de­liv­ered to four shel­ters and in­sti­tu­tions for women in the lo­cal area in time for christ­mas.

These in­clude the haldimand­nor­folk Women’s ser­vices shel­ter in simcoe, Ganohk­wasra fam­ily as­sault sup­port ser­vices in ohsweken, the Nor­folk Preg­nancy & fam­ily re­source cen­tre in simcoe, and the haldimand Preg­nancy care & fam­ily cen­tre in dun­nville and cale­do­nia. Mson­nen­berg@post­media.com

MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE RE­FORMER

Libby Ward of Haldimand County is or­ga­niz­ing an­other round of the Shoe­box Project for Shel­ters gift cam­paign in Nor­folk and Haldimand. Donors have till Dec. 1 to drop off Christ­mas shoe­boxes for women in need at sev­eral lo­ca­tions across the two coun­ties.

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