Truth Frequency Radio
Dec 06, 2013


Danielle Murray of Dani’s Bistro, second from left, is welcoming drop offs from the Shoebox Project St. Catharines at her downtown restaurant. The boxes collected in St. Catharines will be going towards Gillian’s Place. Joining Murray are, from left, Joanne Doyley, of Gillian’s Place, and Murray’s parents Betty and Lloyd Murray.

Niagara This Week

ST. CATHARINES — Jenna Barrie has a whole new perspective on the gift of giving this Christmas.

As she prepared to purchase items for the Toronto Shoebox Project last year with the support of friends and co-workers, she realized how many things we take for granted. The boxes, destined for women’s shelters, were filled with modest items such as body lotion, hats, mitts, scarves, makeup, gift cards and more. Yet, for some of the recipients, it could be the only gift they receive, or it could come at a time they’re most in need.

“These shoeboxes brighten the holiday season and let the women know they are special and not forgotten,” said Barrie. “It provides an easy way to bring a little joy to women who are going through difficult times or live in poverty.”

Barrie’s desire to give back again this year led to her expanding the project to St. Catharines with the support of Shoebox Project co-founder Caroline Mulroney Lapham. She wants to engage many local residents in hopes of giving a big boost for Gillian’s Place as part of the campaign in St. Catharines.

“Putting together a shoebox is easy and this small gesture of kindness is very much appreciated by its recipient,” she said. “It’s an easy way to give back – something you can share with your family, friends and colleagues.”

While the options are endless in terms of what can be included in the shoebox, typically there are body or hand lotions, makeup, nut-free cookies, candy and chocolate, winter wear (hats, mitts, scarves), perfume, brushes/combs, bus tickets, phone cards, and gift certificates. In general, those filling a box are asked to keep the value at a maximum of $50.

The boxes themselves can be shoeboxes decorated for the holiday or Christmas, but must be unwrapped, and you can even include an inspirational quote or poem or card.

“I think it is important for women to know they have not been forgotten and have the support of a community behind them,” said Barrie. “These boxes also provide basic necessities that these women might not be able to buy for themselves.”

There is no cost to register, added Barrie, noting the two best ways to help are donating a shoebox and spreading the word.

The boxes, once completed, can be dropped off from Dec. 6-19 at Dani’s Bistro, 174 St. Paul St., St. Catharines, and Shred Salon and Barbering, 7 Geneva St. in St. Catharines. Barrie said the owners of those two businesses, along with many others, have been generous about participating.

“St. Catharines has a very strong sense of community and the support so far has been fantastic,” she said, adding it started with friends and family and has spread quickly from their circles and beyond.


Anyone wishing for more information about the Shoebox Project in St. Catharines can contact [email protected] or visit Barrie said donors are also encouraged to share their photos of shoeboxes or shoebox-making parties on social media by tweeting to @StCathShoebox or posting on Facebook with the hashtag #ShoeboxLove.