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Shoebox Project aims to help women in Kamloops

The goal of the project is to distribute gift-filled shoeboxes to local women displaced from their homes and estranged from their families
Shoebix project bertoli
Taylor Bertoli of Abbott Wealth Management with some of the shoeboxes that were donated to the Shoebox Project for Women in 2018. For more information on how you can get involved call 250-372-3736.

As small as a shoebox is, it can hold a surprising amount of love.

That’s the message the people behind the Shoebox Project for Women want to get out to the public.

Founded in 2011 in Toronto, the Shoebox Project for Women now has an international reach.

The goal of the project is to distribute gift-filled shoeboxes to local women displaced from their homes and estranged from their families.

Mark Bertoli of Abbott Wealth Management is the Kamloops co-ordinator for the Shoebox Project, while the rest of the office staff help organize the campaign.

“Last year, we were able to get out 350 boxes to women in need,” said Cher Sanderson, one of the organizers.

“And this year, our goal is 400 because we like to top that up a little bit.”

Each shoebox is filled with items valued at about $50 and the goal is to select gifts that can enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation.

The organization has a list of suggestions for items to include in the box, including something warm, something sweet, something personal and something fun.

There are also items they recommend not be included, such as sized clothing (stick with gloves and scarves, rather than pants and shirts), razors and mouthwash containing alcohol.

Organizers also ask that a note for the recipient be included in the box.

“We want to make these women feel like they’re a part of the community. That’s human nature,” said Taylor Bertoli, who, along with sister Marisa, is also an organizer.

“People want to strive for that. So a really cute note or a heartfelt note telling them, ‘You matter, you are important, you’re not forgotten.’”

Organizations receiving the shoeboxes this year include the Elizabeth Fry Society of Kamloops, Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre, First Steps Program, Emerald Hostel, A Way Home Kamloops Youth Housing, Family Tree Family Centre and the Y Emergency Women’s Shelter.

The best way to get an idea about what to put into a box might be to drop by Abbott Wealth Management and look at the ones they have already received.

“Everyone’s welcome to come in, stop by and take a picture next to the Christmas tree,” Marisa Bertoli said. “There’s tonnes of boxes around and now we’re getting a 12-foot Christmas tree.”

You can learn more about the project and get some tips on what to include in a shoebox online at

Boxes can be dropped off in person at Abbott Wealth Management, 207-1211 Summit Dr. in Sahali, until Dec. 6.

For more information, call Abbott Wealth Management at 250-372-3736.