Halifax Shoebox Project wants to reach all women in Nova Scotian shelters this Christmas

Packing party event gives people a chance to work together.

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The Halifax Shoebox Project is underway again this year—this time, with a goal of getting 1,200 boxes into the hands of those in need.

“We’re hoping to reach every woman across Nova Scotia that’s in a shelter for Christmas,” says Carole Rankin, local project coordinator.

The Shoebox Project for Shelters began in Toronto in 2011 and the Halifax branch started up the following year. The idea is to decorate shoeboxes and fill them with small gifts women in shelters or outreach programs usually can’t afford to buy for themselves.

Last year, the local project received more than 1,000 shoeboxes. That’s double the amount it collected in 2014. As a result, volunteers were able to service shelters from Yarmouth to Sydney. This year, Rankin says, the cut-off date is a week early.

“Just so that we are in the best position possible to make those connections with the shelters, to know what the need is and to get them delivered.”

“Packing parties” are also taking place to boost the numbers. A Truro-based event has already happened, and Lion & Bright is hosting a similar event in Halifax next week.

“We get e-mails all the time of people wanting to get more involved, and this is a great way for them to get involved,” says Rankin.

“It’s not like a charity where you’re writing a cheque and it’s not connected to an actual person. This is a personal connection that you’re making with someone, and I think that hits home more when you’re doing it as a group.”

These packing parties will also hopefully cut down on the time volunteers will dedicate to going through the boxes, since they have to sort them based on the needs of individual shelters. For example, there’s no sense in sending boxes with Halifax Transit tickets to Cape Breton.

People are welcome to attend the event whether or not they have items or money to donate.

“They can definitely still help out by wrapping and putting things together or writing Christmas cards to go in the boxes,” says Rankin. “There’s lots of things that people can do.”

For those who can’t make it, drop-off locations for donations are listed on the Shoebox Project website. Donations are welcome up until December 3.

Shoebox Packing Party
Thursday, November 24, 7pm
Lion & Bright Café Wine Bar, 2534 Agricola Street


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