We are proud to be funding almost 80 impactful community programs in 2021 that are led by VPD members. While most are operated by front-line VPD officers, we also fund several initiatives that are managed by VPD civilian staff – staff in the front office that also play a crucial role supporting the operations of the VPD. The VPD’s Information Management Section (IMS) is one of these internal groups that recently received a grant to support The Shoebox Project for Shelters.
Let by VPD IMS Administrative Assistant, Carol Bueckert, she and her team will fill 25 shoeboxes, valued at $50 each, and deliver them to Vancouver women’s shelters and support agencies later this year. As part of a national philanthropic program, The Shoebox Project supports women in every major city in Canada and has also recently expanded to the USA. Volunteers are encouraged to decorate and curate shoeboxes, filling them with items valued at $50 that can enhance self-esteem and reduce feelings of isolation for women in need.
“I was immediately drawn to this program for a number of reasons,” explains Carol. “It supports women living in marginalized and precarious situations at a time when they may be feeling especially vulnerable and the positive impact of receiving a shoebox is immediate. Even more so, these shoeboxes are donated to women living in shelters in the communities in which our VPD officers serve.”
Each shoebox is filled with both essential and gift items, as well as a hand-written card with kind and supportive words written by one of the volunteers. These small gifts can be items such as lip balm, gift cards, warm socks or mittens, cosmetics, sweet treats, sunscreen, transit passes and much more.
“Our goal is to make these women feel special, beautiful and valued,” says Carol. “We want to remind these women that they have not been forgotten and that they are not alone, despite living in a shelter.”
In addition to benefiting the women on the receiving end of the shoeboxes, it is also a rewarding experience for Carol and her team.
“The process of creating the shoeboxes – including wrapping them, buying the items, writing cards and messages of hope and inspiration – allows for a number of IMS staff members to work together toward a common goal,” explains Carol. “It is an important team-building activity as we volunteer our time together. Ultimately, we are fostering relationships within our team and with the community, while also building understanding and trust.”
This will be the second year that VPD’s IMS is supporting The Shoebox Project, and prior to this Carol led other community initiatives such as assisting with the lunch program for individuals living on the street through First United Church. This year, Carol and her colleagues at IMS will be building and delivering the 25 Shoeboxes during the 2021 holiday season. Check back with us this winter for full details about the IMS shoebox delivery.