About Us

The Shoebox Project for Women is an unaffiliated, non-religious, Canadian charity that supports women experiencing or at-risk-of homelessness, and that celebrates diversity, builds awareness, challenges stigma and promotes equity.

When we use the term 'women' we use it in an inclusive manner and are mindful of the diverse and intersecting identities of the people who we support.

Our Mission

To uplift and empower women who are experiencing or at-risk-of homelessness through in-kind support, education, and community participation.

Our Approach

Through volunteer-led gift drives that benefit women who are impacted by homelessness, we build compassionate and connected communities

By distributing essentials of daily living to shelters and community agencies, we support women and gender-diverse people facing income inequality.

By building awareness and educating youth, we challenge stigmas, fight discrimination, and promote equity.

Our Vision

To foster equitable communities where all women are seen, valued, and treated with dignity and compassion.

Our Staff

Rosie Smythe

Executive Director

Karen Paget

Volunteer Manager
Woman with shoulder-length brown curly hair smiling.

Naomi Benoist

Executive Assistant

Adriana Reynaga

Communications and
Fundraising Coordinator

Edidiong Abba

Administrative Assistant

Board of Directors

Nicole Watts

Head of Government Relations, 
PayPal Canada

Shannon Murree

CEO/Founder, Canadian Women’s 
Investment Network

James Albrecht

COO/CFO, Northern Private Capital

Allie Page

Public Relations, Apple

Tracee Smith

CEO/Founder, Outside Looking In and
National Indigenous Youth Awards

John-Paul Ricchio

Television Floor Director,
Bell Media

Tessa Hadzipetros

Digital Fundraising Manager, Doctors without Borders

Heather Colquhoun

HR Executive

Danielle Anisef

Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Klick Health

Our Story

In 2011, The Shoebox Project for Women was founded in Toronto, Ontario, Canadby four sisters-in-law: Jessica, Caroline, Vanessa and Katy. The family had noticed there were many opportunities to provide gifts to children experiencing homelessness during the holiday season, but there were no such gift drives for their mothers.

Wanting to make the holiday season a little brighter for some local women in their community, they decided to ask friends and acquaintances to fill a Shoebox with thoughtful yet essential gifts – some little luxuries that would bring a smile to any woman's face.

​That first holiday season, their goal was to collect 156 Shoeboxes; just enough to serve the women living at one Toronto family shelter. By word of mouth and the power of social media, they ended up receiving 400 Shoeboxes that year - enough gifts for women accessing four local shelters. Donors also started spontaneously including notes of support and encouragement in their Shoeboxes, which were especially appreciated by their recipients. The sisters quickly realized that their modest little "Shoebox Project" had legs, and a national movement was officially born.

Our Milestones & Timeline

What is Next?

We are embarking on our second decade and embracing new challenges faced by the Canadian non-profit sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are working hard to:

  • Improve our services across the country.

  • Enhance equity in our volunteer program.

  • Respond to crises and emergencies, i.e. natural disasters.

  • Better serve our gender-diverse Shoebox recipients.

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors

National Sponsor

Campaign Sponsors

In-Kind Sponsors

Contact Us

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