The Shoebox Project for Women says donations are off to a slow start in Kelowna this holiday season

Shoebox project needs help

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m.

Due to overwhelming demand for empty shoeboxes at Cadence Shoes, anyone who wants them is now being asked to contact Marika Soleil at 778-214-1773.

She will arrange to have them dropped off.


A global charitable movement is struggling in its second year of operation in Kelowna.

The Shoebox Project for Women is urging people in the Central Okanagan to get together with friends and family and fill some shoeboxes with essentials for women who are experiencing homelessness in the local community.

So far, coordinator Marika Soleil says they have about 45 gift packages ready to go. Their goal is 200 shoeboxes by Dec. 20.

2021 was the first year for the charity in Kelowna, but The Shoebox Project has been operating in the UK, USA and other parts of Canada for a decade. Soleil says some people confuse it with Operation Christmas Child, which sends shoeboxes to children in developing countries.

“I just want to make it very clear that everything stays. It’s for the local community. We help the organizations, the shelters that are in Kelowna. Our boxes don’t go anywhere else,” she explains.

The packages will be distributed to women through HOPE Outreach, The Bridge, CMHA Kelowna outreach program, Karis Society and NOW Shelter.

You can pick up empty shoe boxes at Cadence Shoes in Spall Plaza and fill them with personal care and comfort items. Each box should contain about $50 worth of gifts.

“Shampoo and conditioner are huge (full size bottles), body lotion, pieces of makeup, and then something warm like socks, gloves, scarves, toques,” says Soleil.

She encourages people to make packing the shoeboxes a social event.

“I think the focus really is not just people donating items, but actually people getting together with their close group of friends and everybody brings an item, and they make the boxes themselves," she said.

“It’s actually very fun, and it’s a social thing, and I think businesses should do that, and I think people should do that with their social groups. It’s just so much fun. It’s a reason to get together and do something nice for charity.”

Once shoeboxes are filled you can drop them off at three locations in Kelowna:

Ana Perju Hair
G, 2009 Enterprise Way 2nd Floor
9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Oval Medical Laser Aesthetics
1855 Kirschner Rd. #210
9 a.m-5 p.m.

Lola Lash Bar
740 Clement Ave.
10 a.m.-6 p.m.

To find out more about how to host a shoebox fundraiser or to make a monetary donation, go to the Shoebox Project for Women website.

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