International Women’s Day: Help give a shoebox of little luxuries to London women hit by homelessness

Donors assemble special gifts for women impacted by homelessness, including £35-worth of essentials and little luxuries as well as a note of support.

Londoners are getting involved with a special appeal for International Women’s Day, which gifts homeless women a special shoebox full of essentials and little luxuries.

The Shoebox Project for Women’s UK chapter aims to spread solidarity, compassion and hope among the often forgotten women impacted by homelessness.

Inspired by similar schemes in America, each woman is given a beautiful wrapped box, with gifts from sponsors and donors.

At Christmas, volunteers distributed over £20,000 worth of boxes to ladies based with organisations like Women at the Well, Ace of Clubs, Women’s Aid, GlassDoor and St Mungo’s.

The Shoebox appeal.

The Combined Homelessness and Information Network estimates that between April 2020 and March 2021 11,018 were seen sleeping rough in the capital.

And that doesn’t include the tens of thousands declared homeless by local authorities across London, who are waiting for a home for their family in the midst of a housing crisis.

All of this has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

So now the Shoebox Project for Women’s UK chapter hopes to give back on International Women’s Day.

“The Shoebox Project makes marginalised women feel special with beautifully wrapped boxes filled with gifts they appreciate, but it’s so much more than that,” said executive director Lesley Hendry.

Preparing a shoebox.

“Our gift drives connect community members by being the conduit for 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 them a thoughtful note can mean the world to a woman who is feeling scared, invisible or alone.”

Along with a caring and supportive message, shoebox gifts include £35 worth of much-needed personal items like soap, shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste, allowing women to feel more confident in a time of great turmoil.

The little luxuries included such as gift cards, cosy socks, and high-quality beauty products, offer a invaluable message to a woman in a refuge that she deserves to feel special.

Londoners who want to get involved can take part in a shoebox drive and pack at the Big Yellow Storage, in Southampton Way, Camberwell, on Saturday.

There will also be a reception for community donors on International Women’s Day in the New Kings Road, Chelsea.