How Do I Show I Care? It’s Easy!
Welcome to the Manitoba Shoebox Project for Women!
The Sweet and Bittersweet... Remembering Dorothy
With hopes that all of you are having a wonderful combination of fun, relaxation and discovery this summer!
Although we have not started our formal preparations yet, as the days move along towards fall, our thoughts turn to our annual Shoebox Drive campaign which we look forward to as another opportunity for service to the many women in our community facing challenges.
As plans and details are confirmed for our 2019 campaign, I will be sending out information to all the folks on our Volunteer, Contact, Supporter, and Corporate lists. Please keep an eye open for more updates in late September or early October.
In reality, even through the ‘off-season’ for our Manitoba Chapter, we are still actively receiving Shoebox donations from generous donors and we do our best to distribute them accordingly to our partner organizations as required. I’ll make mention of these gracious donors in my next message.
However, along with this very sweet news, we do have the bittersweet. The main reason for this early correspondence is to report the passing on July 27th of one of our most ardent donors – Dorothy Watermulder. While many of you may not recognize Dorothy’s name, as volunteers you would have certainly seen the beautiful and bountiful donations of toques, scarves, mitts, neck warmers, and kitchen sets that Dorothy knitted and gifted us with for the past 4 years. Literally in the hundreds, Dorothy would knit year-round to not only donate to The Shoebox Project, but to many other charitable organizations as well. Dorothy’s love and generosity has kept many a woman’s head, hands, and neck warm over these years and we are filled with sadness by her loss, and deep gratitude that she chose us to share her special talents and kind heart with. Personally, I will miss her phone calls and emails to me, letting me know what she had in store for us, or hearing her excited anticipation of finds of beautiful yarn from another country, and of course, my eventual visits to pick up her donations. Little did I know at the time, that her last call to me asking if I knew of another knitting group that would want some of her ‘excess’ yarn would be our last. She simply stated that she would not be able to accomplish much this year as she wasn’t feeling quite well, and I assured her that we have been so grateful for what she has already done for us, and we’d look forward to her getting back on her feet and to ‘next’ year. What I believe now, is that she knew there would likely not be a ‘next’ year, but yet she still wanted to share and give…a remarkable lady who will be missed by many for so many reasons. I like to believe that Dorothy has hardly seen her last ‘cast off’, but rather that she has another ‘knit and purl’ on the go right now! “Thank you” Dorothy.
Read our 2018 Holiday Season Wrap-Up Report
If you have any questions, or would like more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mothers and Daughters, Sisters, ‘Big and Little Sisters’, Role Models… Precious Connections
This year, our 2018 Holiday Shoebox Drive campaign seemed to particularly inspire the participation and generosity of several dynamic duos, triples, and multiples!
We are so grateful for the lessons of giving and compassion that mothers instilled in their young daughters as they shopped and composed beautiful and thoughtful Shoebox gifts together, and for the caring and meaningful gestures inspired by the recognition of another less fortunate woman’s hardship that resulted in action from grown daughters and mothers.
And we have seen the kindness and proof that a ‘Big’ Sister does not need to share blood lines with a ‘Little’ Sister to care and love as deeply for each other, and to set examples for a young girl blossoming into a wonderful young woman.
While we may not know all of your names behind the scenes, we are very grateful to all of you including these inspirational Mums, daughters, and sisters! To Paulette and Jacqueline; Louise, Julie, and Carly; Angela and Saskia; Barbara and her daughters…and ‘sister’ friends; and Jasmine and Abby.
Taking on the role of a model and example to look up to, and teaching lessons of empathy, understanding and action is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. This is exactly what teacher Ms. Lacey Forbes and her colleagues undertake by overseeing Sisler High School’s Girls Empowerment Group. For several years, young girls participating in this special group have actively participated in our initiative and this year was no different with a total of 64 Shoebox gifts composed for women in need throughout our community. As importantly, we are buoyed by the knowledge that the lesson of attaining empowerment, tempered with giving and compassion will be carried forward by future generations of young women.
Our belief in this is founded in the amazing group of members from the University Women’s Club Alumnae. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, empowerment of women remains a priority and we were once again invited by Sandra Millen to historical 54 Westgate to pick-up Shoebox gifts composed by Club members...surely a testament that ‘sister-hood’ giving does not stop, even long after leaving school!
One very special moment has stayed with me admittedly. Six year-old Kitson and her Mum, Lindsay worked very hard to compose a ‘perfect’ Shoebox gift by shopping together and picking out beautiful items, then wrapping the Shoebox with Kitson adding her special touch! Unfortunately, they had missed the deadline and Lindsay called asking if there were any other way to get her daughter’s Shoebox to us, as Kitson was very upset. Now…how could we say “No” to a 6 year-old?! Lindsay delivered the Shoebox to the hall and we carried on! What was to come next during the Shoebox’s inspection was the hand-made card that Kitson had made, and I think all of the lessons that Mum Lindsay has been teaching her daughter came through clear and evident…for in that little 6 year-old, there already beats a heart of gold and our real hope for the future generation! I believe Kitson, with her tender wisdom, summed up what we all want for the women we strive to deliver some joy, hope, and acknowledgment to each holiday and Christmas, and beyond. But I’ll let you be your own judge…
In the News
New Budget – New Shoe(Boxes)!
April 11, 2017 was Budget Day for Manitoba, and Finance Minister Cameron Friesen chose to bypass the unique Canadian tradition of wearing new, or newly re-soled shoes to present the new financial strategy plan. Instead, Minister Friesen and each member of the PC Caucus honoured our local Chapter with 36 beautifully assembled, and thoughtful gift Shoeboxes at the Manitoba Legislature! In addition, Minister Friesen announced that the Legislature will serve as an official drop off location until April 30th for any other workplaces – or individuals - that care to take up his challenge of making Shoebox donations to our charitable initiative.
Thank you so much Minister Friesen and members of the PC Caucus for your caring and generous Shoebox donations, and most of all for shining a spotlight on The Shoebox Project for Shelters. Eva and I were so happy to be invited to attend, and participate in the event! We are thrilled, and grateful for this opportunity!
Our local government partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart and the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) to unite, and make a clear statement that women in shelter, and those at-risk of homelessness in our communities far and wide, do matter, are valued, and are important members of our society. They are not forgotten.
On hand, representing Shoppers Drug Mart, was Ms. Marilyn Sidhu, Pharmacist/Owner of Shoppers Drug Mart, Dominion Centre. We would like to express our heart-felt thanks to Ms. Sidhu for her encouraging words of support for our organization, and for being part of a corporation that is always willing to lend a hand, right across the country. Product donations, special event drives, initiative promotion…we could go on! We are very appreciative!
Another very special acknowledgement was conveyed by Mr. Chris Pennycook, president of the MREA. Mr. Pennycook paid tribute to our own Chapter Founder, Eva Whitmore, by detailing many of the reasons why Eva was chosen as the 2017 MREA Shelter Foundation Award winner. This is a very special honour, and we are very grateful to the MREA for not only reinforcing the importance of the work that we do, but in particular, the achievements that Eva has accomplished over the last four years, and the impact her efforts have made on almost 7,000 women. Mr. Pennycook also personally issued a challenge to the Realtors of the MREA to donate Shoeboxes, and participate in our initiative. Thank you…we are so honoured!
We would also like to thank Minister Rochelle Squires for the lovely job she did as MC for the morning’s event…it was perfect!
And finally, I’d like to extend a personal note of appreciation to Alysia and Morgan for providing me with wonderful support and encouragement as I prepared for this very important event! Your professionalism and organization were amazing!
This truly was a very special event for Eva and me, and please know we are bolstered in the knowledge that you all care, and humbled to be chosen as your charity partner. “Thank you”!
I’d like to close with a quote from Minister Cameron Friesen…
“In our country's 150th year, it remains our hope that every Manitoban will take stock of their own ability to give to a charity or organization of their choice. Together we can make a precious difference in the life of someone less fortunate."
Homelessness in Manitoba
Thank You to our Sponsors & Partners!
Make a Shoebox
Each Shoebox is special and made unique with your personal touch. It's fun and rewarding and every Shoebox helps a woman experiencing homelessness remember that she is loved and valuable.
Become an Organizer
Making a Shoebox is a great activity to do with your friends, family, coworkers, or any other group of people in your life! Host a party and do something good. Every Shoebox counts!
Items or in-kind donations are gladly accepted and will be used to fill even more Shoeboxes. If your company would like to donate, please contact us.
Spread the Word
We need help to spread the word in your community. Please consider giving us a shout out or sharing what you're doing on social media. It really helps!