Helping someone have a good Christmas is as easy as filling a shoebox.
The Shoebox Project is underway at Living Space in Timmins.
To participate, people can donate shoeboxes filled with a variety or items such as toiletries, socks, hats, mitts, hygiene products, and more. The wrapped boxes will be given to people waking up at or using Living Space on Christmas Day.
Public health student Megan Rowe came up with the idea with her mom.
Last year, she said something similar was done with stockings being filled.
“This year we wanted to do something, and a lot of people probably haven’t had the opportunity to open a lot of gifts in their life just given past circumstances. We thought it would be pretty cool to be able to have something here for them to open on Christmas morning,” said Rowe.
The goal is to help reduce feelings of loneliness.
"Just giving them that novelty of being able to open a present on Christmas morning was something that we really wanted to do,” she said.
If you don't have a shoebox, a shoebox-sized box from the dollar store works as well. The filled boxes or donations of items to put into boxes can be dropped off at Living Space on Cedar Street North or Project HOPE, 125 Elm St. N., until Dec. 20.
Some suggested items to put in the box are: something warm for winter weather, helpful items for warmer months such as sunscreen or a reusable water bottle, something sweet like nut-free chocolate and candy, cough drops and multivitamins, hand cream, soap, toothbrush, a brush or comb, shampoo, nail polish and makeup, lip balm, purse-size Kleenex, gift cards, bus ticket, and a supportive message.
“Also just things like colouring books or little notepads, I know a lot of people like to colour downstairs,” said Rowe.
The donations should be geared to adults. If you are pre-wrapping a shoebox, if it's gender specific, it should be marked so it goes to the right person.
A few boxes have been donated already, and Rowe is hoping now that people are getting into the Christmas Spirit that more will be brought in. The aim is to collect 100 boxes.
Since launching the project, the community has been receptive.
“A lot of people think it’s a really good idea and I think it’s something if you’re invested in the community and you want to do something, it's going to stay within Timmins,” she said.
“All of it is going towards people in our community and making them feel good, that’s definitely something that I’ve heard a lot of."
For more information about the project, or to arrange a pickup, email firstname.lastname@example.org.