On any given day, over 8,700 people in Toronto are experiencing homelessness. For women, girls and gender-diverse people, homelessness has often been hidden, meaning that they are more likely to avoid shelters, or remain in abusive relationships than end up on the streets. The situation has only been exacerbated with the COVID pandemic, bringing additional challenges and restrictions for women seeking support from shelters and agencies. Domestic violence cases have worsened due to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, and since the pandemic, there has been a reduction of services for women and girls experiencing housing insecurity. Women and girls have also been experiencing job loss at a greater rate than men during the pandemic.
On December 9th, the Toronto Maple Leafs Family and Friends invite you to join in supporting the Shoebox Project for Women. The aim of the Shoebox Project is to show women who have been displaced from their homes and estranged from their families that they have not been forgotten about and that they remain a valued and respected member of the community. Fans are encouraged to create their own Shoebox filled with essentials, gifts and other little luxuries, or bring a suggested item to the game and help uplift a woman this holiday season.
"The Shoebox Project provides women with the essentials they need and small gifts they appreciate, but it's so much more than that," says Lesley Hendry, Executive Director of the Shoebox Project. "This gift drive connects communities by facilitating compassionate gestures of kindness. The idea that a person in their community took the time and effort to assemble a special gift and to write a thoughtful greeting can mean the world to a woman who is feeling scared, invisible and alone."
Each Shoebox is festively decorated and filled with about $50 of essential products and small luxuries that she deserves. Simple necessities such as personal care items that help a woman properly care for her hygiene can provide great motivation to find gainful employment and other essential needs, while little luxuries such as beauty products can go a long way in boosting self-confidence and encourage a positive mindset. Gift cards are one of the most coveted items and a full list of suggested gifts and other important details on how to make a Shoebox can be found on the Shoebox Project website. Shoeboxes will be collected prior to the Leafs game on December 9th in the Galleria located outside of Gate 1. As a thank you, fans who donate a full shoebox or monetary donation will receive a $25 gift voucher* for Real Sports. For fans at home wanting to support, visit the Shoebox Project website for other ways to give.
*Voucher Conditions - Spend $50 at Real Sports and receive $25 off*