Is this like the "other" shoebox project for developing countries?
Our shoebox program is completely different and unrelated. We distribute shoebox gifts always and only in the context of celebrating education — to create excitement and motivation for students about attending school and working toward their future — and also as a celebration of friendship to help foster reconciliation. We do not promote the idea of "giving to the needy", and this is why we also encourage only the donation of quality gifts. Furthermore, our charity has no religious purpose.
Where will my shoebox go?
This year (2017-18) our shoebox program is widespread across Canada, and the response is great. We plan to visit several communities in each province and territory, however we are cautious to not overcommit — this is why we cannot announce all of the communities at once. For this reason, we cannot guarantee your shoebox will go to a specific community, but our website does state the regions we will will visit. This is our commitment to you: shoeboxes raised in your province will serve communities in your province, unless a participating group (a school for example) requests otherwise.
Why do you offer a "Child-Youth" label?
This label is intended for gender-neutral boxes. Not all boys like superheroes, just as not all girls like hair bows… with this in mind, we bring some gender-neutral boxes to the communities we visit, so the students can choose according to their preference.
Is the shoebox well received in every community?
Yes it is. Before engaging with a community, we have in-depth conversations with school administrators to make certain that the program is a good fit for their school. As such, school principals are informed of what is generally provided in a gift-filled shoebox, and we also are mindful to accommodate any preferences expressed by the schools (ex. a focus on books or art supplies).
What items should not go in a shoebox?
Our "Shoebox" page provides this information. We also ask you avoid items that promote colonialism, and "Canada" branded merchandise.
Do you inspect shoeboxes?
Absolutely. We inspect primarily for safety, cultural appropriateness and fairness.
What is the $5 donation for?
The $5 donation is essential to helping us meet the high costs of travelling with our team and our shoeboxes to remote and semi-remote communities, so we can present school celebration events. Please keep in mind that only 20% of donors provide the $5 donation — this prevents us from visiting as many communities as we could.
Can I organize a shoebox drive outside of November (ex. for a birthday party or summer BBQ fundraiser)?
Our Canada-wide campaign takes place in November, however we collect shoebox gifts year-round. Please check our website for drop-off or mailing addresses outside of the November campaign.