Shoe Box Project provides hope to Victoria women in need

shoeboxFour years ago, Linda Ferguson went to Vancouver to visit her daughter and came back with a vision that would help change the lives of several Victoria-area women in need.

“My daughter told me about the how the Shoe Box Project was providing these wonderful boxes to women in Vancouver and I thought it was an easy way to give so I became a co-ordinator here,” says Linda.

Linda took the idea to her colleagues at the Westshore Women’s Business Network and The Victoria Shoe Box Project has been steadily growing each year, providing boxes of hope to women in shelters throughout the region.

“It resonated with me,” Linda explains. “Going to a shelter is a last resort for these women. They are feeling lost and ashamed. No matter what has happened in their life, they need to feel special. This gives them a leg up and often becomes a turning point.”

The boxes are certainly filled with those things a woman would find special – gloves, a scarf, an inspirational note, books, jewellery, lipstick, movie tickets and a hair salon gift certificate. With no funds for marketing and advertising, they rely strictly on word of mouth, and word has certainly spread.

“We have over 1,000 boxes this year from our drop off locations from Sooke to Sidney and they’re still being delivered,” says Linda proudly.

Linda doesn’t ever get to see the reactions of the recipients, but always receives letters of thanks from the shelter administrators. One of those individuals is Christine O’Brien of Sandy Merriman House, Cool Aid’s women’s shelter. Each person coming to their program is gifted with one of the boxes.

“The shoeboxes are a treasured gift,” says Christine. “It’s pretty awesome when they see that the boxes are full of such wonderful items and packed so beautifully. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement watching someone go through everything. It means a great deal to us to be able to give people a cheery Christmas, to have wrapping paper all over the house, people laughing and smiling.”

For more about the Victoria Shoe Box Project, visit their Facebook Page.
To learn about the Victoria Cool Aid Society and the programs they support, please visit https://www.coolaid.org.