The Muskoka Shoebox project is back this holiday season for another year of spreading good cheer and reaching out to those on the margins.
The program, which is now in its eighth year in Muskoka, invites participants to fill a standard-sized, decorated shoebox with approximately $50 worth of gifts and essentials that any woman might enjoy, and include a warm greeting or message of support. Volunteers then distribute these gifts to local women’s shelters and community agencies serving women impacted by homelessness across Canada.
As local coordinators Jennifer and Sarah Stevenson explained, for women who have been displaced from their homes and estranged from their families, the holidays and special occasions can be particularly challenging. Often, women feel disconnected from society, forgotten and alone.
Reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness faced by women accessing shelters is one of the most important outcomes of The Shoebox Project.
A gift from the Shoebox Project is an opportunity to give back to someone in your community. It’s a small gesture of kindness that has an immediate and positive impact on the woman who receives it.
According to statistics from the Shoebox Project, about one in four Muskoka tenants pays more than 50% of their family income on rent. There are about 650 households on the waiting list for social housing.
In 2010, 21% of women living on the streets in Simcoe County reported being sexually assaulted or raped.
About 30% of people in government-supported housing require additional support services, and that number continues to increase.
The project runs until Dec. 1. You can find more information, including drop-off locations across Muskoka here.
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