Despite the uncertainties posed by the pandemic, the Muskoka Shoebox Project has been able to deliver over 1,000 gifts to women across Muskoka, and the donations are still rolling in.
This year, in place of the usual shoeboxes, women in need across the region received gift cards or bulk essential items like hats or socks, toiletries and cosmetics packaged in holiday gift bags with sweet treats and handwritten greetings. The total monetary value for the donations is still being calculated, but organizer Jennifer Stevenson said they were able to surpass their target of 600 gifts, nearly doubling their goal with 1,014 gifts delivered so far. Stevenson said she’s blown away by the generosity of the community and the success of the campaign.
“I’m honestly overwhelmed and so, so grateful. When we started, it was so uncertain…” Stevenson said. “I can’t express how grateful we are that we had such great results and that the community once again has delivered.”
On top of financial donations from individuals in the community, groups and businesses like the Rotaract Club, Shine Jewelry & Accessories and The Crafty Cabin led their own fundraising initiatives for this year’s campaign. Stevenson wants to thank all those that contributed, from retailers to service groups to individuals.
“We just want to make sure that the community knows how important their involvement and participation and contribution is and how grateful we are for supporting this initiative because it is the core of our success,” she said.
Despite the success of this year’s campaign, Stevenson is looking forward to next year’s event, which will hopefully include the return of shoebox parties and other gatherings. Until then, she’s excited to share the good news with the community after first sharing it with past organizers Joanne Buie, Penny Burns and Barb Baldwin, who handed the baton to Stevenson and her daughter-in-law Sarah earlier this year after bringing the project to Muskoka and running it for five years.
“I shared the information with them first, and they’re proud,” Stevenson said. “Their legacy of what they built over five years was able to continue on and I think that meant a lot to them.”
For updates on gift deliveries and other Muskoka Shoebox Project announcements, visit their Facebook page. To learn more about this year’s campaign, read the article below.