For different people, the winter holidays mean a variety of things. For some, the holiday season is all about spending time with family and enjoying a meal together, while for others it is about indulging in consumerism, Santa Claus, movies, tobogganing and more. For me, the holidays are a bit of both of these things. I enjoy spending time with my family and participating in all the holiday traditions but one thing that my mom taught me from a young age was that it is better to give than to receive.
When I was younger, I didn’t fully understand what she meant but as I have had more time to experience the world, I agree with her. During the holiday season, I think that giving to those who have less than the majority of the population is so important. I’ve always been very blessed to spend every holiday with my family and friends that make me feel loved and important, and I think that it is crucial to share as much of that as I can with others in order for them to have a joyful holiday season.
The Shoebox Project is a great way to bring joy, happiness and a sense of community to homeless women. Shoeboxes for this project are filled with approximately $50 worth of items and can include; socks, hat, mittens, gift cards, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, cards, journals, candy, body lotion and many more. These gifts are aimed at making women feel special and appreciated.
Since 2011, the Shoebox Project has delivered over 13,000 to homeless women, valued over $6.5 million, and has 80 volunteer run locations across North America in order to provide positivity and happiness in the lives of homeless women. When you deliver the shoebox, you also have the option of putting a written note inside to provide an extra bit of encouragement to the woman who receives the box. For anyone, but particularly women, who don’t have a home or family, the holiday season can be a difficult time and I think that by providing a shoebox to women it is a reminder that they are not alone during this season of giving and love and serves as a way of providing confidence. The shoeboxes you provide are delivered to women in emergency shelters, shelters for victims of abuse and several community support services offered to women. By receiving a shoebox, women are able to feel valued, respected and supported by their community.
If the Shoebox Project doesn’t sound like something you want to get involved in, there are several other ways to give to those in your community or around the world that allow individuals to experience the holiday spirit like you do, including: operation Christmas child held by Samaritan’s Purse and the Christmas shoe box appeal held by Team Hope. If you are interested in supporting women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, you can donate to Gillian’s Place, a local shelter providing services for these individuals and families. This holiday season think about providing a gift for someone locally who may be less fortunate than you before purchasing that extra gift for yourself.