Despite the pandemic, the Campbell River ShoeBox Project was able to help close to 360 vulnerable women on Northern Vancouver Island. 

Normally, coordinators would fill shoeboxes with gifts, but this year, due to COVID-19, they opted for gift cards instead.

Alison Skrepneck, local Shoebox Project Coordinator says the team wasn’t sure if they would be able to help those in need, but the community came together to make it happen. 

 “I really didn’t know how the campaign would go this year with many people struggling financially due to the pandemic and since the format of providing the gifts for local women was different. However, thanks to the generosity of people in our community which was supplemented by several grants, just over 300 women in Campbell River and about 50 women in Port Hardy/North Island will enjoy being able to purchase something special for themselves with the gift cards they receive,” she explained.

Skrepneck added that donations were slow to come in initially, but as the campaign progressed thanks to the generosity of local individuals, groups and several businesses along with some  additional funding, hundreds of local disadvantaged women will receive Gift cards this holiday season. 

The ShoeBox Project aims to spread love, compassion, empathy and hope to local women impacted by homelessness. 

Heather Brownhill from Opportunities Advocacy Services, shared her experience when she gave one of the gifts to a young woman recently.

 She said, “At the end of a long appointment with a young, single mom, I pulled one of your amazing envelopes out of my drawer and explained where it came from. I proceeded

to make her promise me that she would buy herself a treat because as a mom, it is very easy to spend the money on the kids and forget about yourself. She broke down in tears telling me that during the pandemic she has felt so alone and did not get any financial, emotional or physical support from her family. The gift meant absolutely everything to her.”

This was the 8th year for the project in Campbell River and the 4th time on the North Island. 

In total, more than $15,000 will be heading to vulnerable women living in Campbell River and Port Hardy/North Island in time for the Holidays. 

To learn more about the project, visit https://www.shoeboxproject.com/campbell-river.html.