We all say the struggle is real and we’re last on our list but as a bunch of Muskoka lovers lets be honest, we’ve got it pretty easy compared to the daily happenings in the rest of the world.   That being said it isn’t all lakes, cottages and laid back living.

Muskoka Shoebox Project 9

It’s a problem and while Muskoka collectively works through it one day at a time, there’s a holiday initiative called the Shoebox Project that needs your help by December 1, 2016.  That’s right 9 days to go; hop to.

Whats a Shoebox?

It’s literally a shoebox filled with items valued at $50 that any woman would enjoy receiving at Christmas.
Muskoka Shoebox

Why Is It So Important?

For women who have been displaced from their homes and estranged from their families, the holidays can be a particularly challenging time. Often, women feel disconnected from society, forgotten and alone. Reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness faced by women living in shelters is one of the most important outcomes of the Shoebox Project. A Shoebox gift is a powerful reminder for a woman that she has not been forgotten and that she remains a valued and respected member of her community.

Who Receives Them?

Women in need who aren’t likely to splurge on themselves in difficult times.  While the initiative takes place across Canada and the US, the Muskoka initiative helps 
  • Christine’s in Huntsville
  • all Muskoka locations of the Salvation Army
  • Muskoka Victim Services
  • the District of Muskoka
  • YWCA Muskoka
  • the Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group (that operates two crisis centres —Chrysalis and Muskoka Interval House)
  • the Gravenhurst Women’s Resource Centre

Who Founded It?

The Shoebox Project for Shelters was founded in 2011 the Mulroney sisters: Caroline, Jessica, Katy and Vanessa but these three Bracebridge curlers brought it to Muskoka – Barb Baldwin, Penny Burns and Joanne Buie.  Initially they hought about 50 boxes might do the trick; in the end they brought in 352 boxes — all needed — all given to women with a need to smile.
Muskoka Shoebox Committee

Why Shoeboxes Matters

This small gesture of kindness has an immediate and positive impact on the woman who receives it. The act of creating Shoeboxes tends to bring people together and works to give a human face to the broad issues of poverty and homelessness.

Why Shoeboxes Matter In Muskoka

The 2016 target was 500.   After tallying the wishlist from the Muskoka organizations who benefit a whopping 775 are actually needed ie double from last year. It goes without saying there is a HUGE need in Muskoka and be you a cottager or resident, its time to pitch in and give back anonymously to someone in your community and show you care.  You often hear of toys being donated for kids and parents in shelters getting to select one per child, but imagine if those same kids and/or dad could pick a special box to have under the tree for mom on Christmas morning!

Muskoka Shoebox Project

What Do I Do?

Muskoka Shoebox Project 3
Muskoka Shoebox Project 4
Muskoka Shoebox Project 5

Don’t Forget the Inspiration

The pretty is one thing, but words are powerful.  Take the time to write a card or note to show you really care. 

Drop It Off

Muskoka Shoeboxes can be dropped at the following locations by December 1st.
  • Bracebridge – Beckers Shoes (27 Manitoba St), Shapes Fitness (227 Wellington St.) & Natural Food Mart (229 Manitoba St.)
  • Huntsville -Beckers Shoes (Huntsville Place Mall) &  Royal Lepage (100-395 Centre St N)
  • Gravenhurst – Royal Lepage (1100A Muskoka Rd. S)
If you need to make alternate pick up arrangements contact the Muskoka shoebox project here.

Love the Idea But Not in Muskoka Right Now?

Good news cottagers and snowbirds, you can still partake by donating the funds to make a box and your inspirational message and our committee will fill it for you.  Donate by clicking here and be sure to select Muskoka as the recipient in the dropdown box.

Muskoka Shoebox Project 2

“I watched with a tender heart as the lady opened the box and wept. Her tears came from feeling the sense of caring,” wrote Muskoka Victim Services executive director Chris Eby in an email. “She was touched that someone would reach out to her with a tangible expression of love when she was most vulnerable and feeling quite alone. The Shoebox Project creates a sense of community, a sense of connectedness. I am very thankful for this initiative and support it with great enthusiasm.”

#justgivelove #muskoka