Sarnia’s Annabelle Rayson is once again organizing the annual Shoebox Project Holiday Drive to help bring a little more joy to women in Sarnia-Lambton this season.
“For me and my family, Christmas and the holidays are really about giving back to our community,” said the 17-year-old St. Pat’s student. “Social justice and helping others is really what drives me.”
It’s the fifth year for the drive — which invites the community to fill shoeboxes with small luxury items for delivery to women in need.
Rayson was a 13-year-old in elementary school when she coordinated the first Sarnia Shoebox with help from her mother Stephanie Lobsinger.
The registered charity invites volunteers to decorate and fill each box with $50 worth of gifts and essentials to enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation for women in need. Items can include scarves, socks, makeup, lotion, and gift cards. Each comes with a motivational, hand-written card, and is delivered to shelters and agencies across the community.
“I received the most kind and humbling thank-you message last year,” Rayson recalled. “I’ve never expected anything in return… we just want to remind these women of their dignity, and spread a little holiday magic.”
Last year, nearly 300 boxes were filled and delivered to local organizations like the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre, Women’s Interval Home, and Inn of Good Shepherd. This year’s list also includes The Haven, The Hub, the Brain Injury Association, and Ohana’s Landing.
Anyone looking to donate items can drop by the following locations (until Dec. 9): MPP Bob Bailey’s office, Norton Hairstyling, Fuzion Hair Concepts, the Sarnia Golf & Curling Club, and The Shoebox.
Monetary donations can also be made through the Sarnia Shoebox Project website.
For more information, visit https://www.shoeboxproject.ca/chapters/sarnia or email [email protected]