The Shoebox Project Kelowna Chapter is asking for donations for the second year to support women experiencing homelessness in the local community.
Partnering with CMHA Kelowna, the Karis Society, NOW Shelter, the Bridge, and HOPE Outreach, Kelowna’s lead coordinator Marika Soliel says they will distribute shoe boxes filled with women’s essentials and a few small gifts to those in need.
“A lot of people get us mistaken with [Operation Christmas Child], so I like to make it clear that we serve the local community only. We don’t ship anything out. All those donations go towards our local partners.”
Soliel says they have a number of drop-off locations for those wanting to make their own shoe box or donate items to go into one, including Ana Perju Hair on Enterprise Way, Lola Lash Bar on Clement Ave, and Oval Medical Laser Aesthetics on Kirschner Rd.
“We look for essential items like full size shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, face creams. Anything like that that can kind of help a person out if they have nothing.”
Soleil says they are also looking for something warm like mitts or socks, small chocolates, and small gifts like make-up, scrunchies, and journals.
“To top it off we also add a note, and it’s a special note coming from the person making the box for the women.”
Soliel is encouraging businesses to host a Shoebox-Raiser, a little holiday party where everyone brings a dozen of one thing or another to help fill a number of boxes.
She is also planning to host an event to fill more boxes, but details have yet to be finalized.
Last year the project put together 188 boxes for local women. Soliel says the goal this year is a minimum of 200, but donations are slow to come in.
“There is definitely a need, and my goal would be to do it all year round. The shelters, they have in-takes and out-takes all year, it’s not just the holiday season that they have a need for these kinds of items. It’s very nice for somebody to come into a shelter with nothing and be presented with a box of items they can use to help them out, get back on their feet, make them feel dignity, and make them feel good.”
Learn more about the Shoebox Project and find ways to get involved in the Kelowna chapter by visiting shoeboxproject.ca/chapters/kelowna.