Not your typical shoebox…
Every year it happens at the same time (spring), but I can’t help but to get a little anxious as I start to receive calls about participating as early as October. No matter how hard we try to control it, it just keeps growing, because our community is just that supportive. It’s the Shoebox Project; one of United Way’s largest initiatives that supports the work being done to help combat the homelessness issue in Atlanta.
More than 10 years ago, a women’s leadership group had the idea to serve the growing population of women and children within the homeless community with a gift for Mother’s Day; a beautifully decorated shoebox containing much needed hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, lotion and more. Who knew that this simple idea would turn into a massive community movement. Since then, we have asked volunteers to decorate, fill, and donate shoeboxes to help greater Atlanta individuals and families. Last year, we collected more than 50,000 boxes and served more than 140 agencies that provide services to low-income, homeless, and domestic violence survivors.
And we want to do it again this year. All across our 13 county footprint, we need volunteers to support the Shoebox Project. Here are some ways you can get involved now through May 1:
1. Host your very own Shoebox party
2. Build your own virtual shoebox
3. Host a toiletry drive and donate the supplies
4. Spread the word via social media with #shoeboxATL
So the next time you are about to toss your shoebox, think twice. With a little imagination you can turn it into something special and fill it will all sorts of needed toiletries; but most of all, you can fill it with hope. These aren’t your typical shoeboxes.
For more information, visit www.unitedwayatlanta.org.
Kisha Stanley is the Director of Volunteerism at United Way of Greater Atlanta. She can be reached at [email protected]