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'Cultivating a compassionate community': The Shoebox Project looks for donations in London, Ont.

Corinne Wilcocks knows what it is like to head into the Christmas season unsure whether she'll receive a gift.

“I believe a small gesture can have a huge impact,” said Wilcocks, a frequent visitor to My Sisters’ Place in London.

That's why she loves ‘The Shoebox Project’ (TSP). It is a national charity which for around $50, can make a big difference.

“Each shoe box is filled with approximately $50 worth of gifts,” explained Michelle Stanescu, a local coordinator for TSP. “It includes necessity items, as well as little luxuries. Things like socks, earmuffs, and essentials like lotions, shampoos, deodorant and luxuries like face creams.”

Over the next month, Stanescu and fellow coordinator Emily Brewer will be collecting the boxes which can be dropped off locations around London.

Corinne Wilcocks talks to CTV News London on Nov. 20, 2023 about her experience receiving a shoe box from The Shoebox Project. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)This year, the demand has increased.

"From last Christmas season, we’ve seen a 22 per cent increase,” said Brewer. “Now we are looking to provide 1,200 shoe boxes to women in London.”

The majority of those women are residing in shelters, facing homelessness or participating in shelter programs.

The month of December can be a difficult and stressful time, especially for women facing these challenges.

"The month can be happy, but also tough because you're reminded of loss, estranged from family, and some have past traumas,” explained Jennifer Martin, donor stewardship and events coordinator at My Sisters’ Place. “The Shoebox Project makes a huge difference. It’s a reminder to women they haven't been forgotten by their community.”

Michelle Stanescu, local coordinator for The Shoebox Project, shows off some of the items which can be placed in a gift-filled box on Nov. 20, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)Wilcocks knows from experience — the generosity can boost someone’s spirit in a difficult time.

“For some women it’s the only gift they’ll get,” said Wilcocks. “Also some of the beauty products are a higher quality than that average woman would spend.”

She encourages people to donate, and preaches the project’s slogan, “Cultivating a compassionate community.”

“Some people think, ‘What can I do?” said Wilcocks. “Well you can do something very simple as putting a gift together or donate money towards it. It doesn't have to be a huge gesture.” Top Stories

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