7 Simple Steps to Shoebox Success

It's easy to turn an empty Shoebox into a beautiful gift!

Shoebox gifts are collected by our volunteers across the country during the holiday season as well as for special occasions and events. We ask donors to fill a standard-sized, decorated Shoebox with approximately $50 worth of gifts and essentials that any woman might enjoy, and include a warm greeting or message of support. Our volunteers distribute these gifts to local women’s shelters and community agencies serving women impacted by homelessness in your community.

Looking to Create a Virtual Shoebox Instead?

You can now offer a special gift to a local woman at any time of the year. Click here to create a Virtual Shoebox.

To learn how to create physical Shoeboxes, continue reading below!

1. Before you get started...

Before you start, see if there is a local chapter near you accepting physical Shoebox donations. Most Local Chapters are not collecting Shoeboxes beyond the holiday season. Visit their page to see how you can support their efforts throughout the year.

Find a Location

2. Select your Shoebox & wrap if necessary

  • All items must fit within a standard-sized Shoebox or a decorative memory box of the same size (approximately 14"x8"x5")

  • The gift MUST be unsealed so that it can be opened for inspection.

  • Your gift should look as beautiful as possible - line your gift with tissue paper and make sure the wrapping has no rips & tears.

  • Do not include bows, as Shoeboxes will be stacked.

  • Please wrap the top and bottom of the Shoebox separately. If you have trouble, watch a tutorial.

Hands taping wrapping paper to a Shoebox
Bargains Group logo

Need to purchase empty Shoeboxes or supplies for your Shoebox-making event?

Contact Bargains Group for more information.

3. Fill your Shoebox with these must-haves

Each Shoebox must be valued at approximately $50.

  • Gift Card (we recommend $10 to a grocery or drug store)

  • Shampoo & Conditioner (consider all hair types and textures)

  • Body Wash

  • Deodorant

  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste

  • Socks

  • Chocolate/Candy

​Tip: The high quality of our gifts is an important element that sets The Shoebox Project apart from other donations the shelters receive throughout the year. Select only items that you would like to receive as a gift or items that you might purchase for your mother or a close friend!

Hand placing gift items into a decorated Shoebox

Add little luxuries to make a woman feel special...

Shoeboxes should also include:

  • Cosmetics (lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, nail polish, etc)

  • A cozy accessory (hand warmers, hat, mitts, scarf)

  • Skin care (sunscreen, face cream, body/hand lotion, cleanser)

  • Self-care  (journal, facial mask, eye mask, lip balm)

Please do NOT include:

  • Used goods

  • Unpackaged items

  • Hotel/Free Samples

  • Sized clothing (i.e. S, M, L, XL)

  • Products containing alcohol (ie. mouthwash and sanitizer)

  • Candles

  • Foundations, concealers or any product for a specific skin tone

  • Tampons & sanitary napkins

  • Razors, nail kits or anything that could cause harm

  • Jumbo-sized containers

  • Perfume and heavily fragranced products

  • Children's products

Download check list

4. Write an Inspirational Message

Each Shoebox should include a card or note - a simple but kind greeting to let your Shoebox recipient know that you care. Please do not seal your envelope!

Tip: Check our Instagram or Facebook for inspiration!

Reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness faced by women impacted by homelessness is one of the most important outcomes of The Shoebox Project.  Women who are experiencing homelessness or living in unstable or unsafe conditions often report feeling disconnected from their community, invisible and alone.  A Shoebox gift not only contains essentials and gifts that are much appreciated by the women we serve, but it’s also a rare gesture of kindness from one community member to another, and serves as a powerful reminder for a woman that she is seen, valued and cared for.

Hands writing a supportive card

5. Drop It Off

For physical Shoebox donations, please check your local chapter's page for drop-off details.  Make sure to find out if there is a deadline!

We are often working around holiday parties and some occur in early to mid-December.

Please note that we do not issue charitable tax receipts for donations of Shoebox gifts.

Tip: If you plan to drop off more than 10 Shoeboxes at a time, please contact your Local Coordinator for assistance.

Reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness faced by women impacted by homelessness is one of the most important outcomes of The Shoebox Project.  Women who are experiencing homelessness or living in unstable or unsafe conditions often report feeling disconnected from their community, invisible and alone.  A Shoebox gift not only contains essentials and gifts that are much appreciated by the women we serve, but it’s also a rare gesture of kindness from one community member to another, and serves as a powerful reminder for a woman that she is seen, valued and cared for.

Person holding a stack of Shoebox gifts

6. Don't Forget to Share!

It's fun to share photos of your Shoebox on social media. Remember to use the hashtag #ShoeboxProject!

Reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness faced by women impacted by homelessness is one of the most important outcomes of The Shoebox Project.  Women who are experiencing homelessness or living in unstable or unsafe conditions often report feeling disconnected from their community, invisible and alone.  A Shoebox gift not only contains essentials and gifts that are much appreciated by the women we serve, but it’s also a rare gesture of kindness from one community member to another, and serves as a powerful reminder for a woman that she is seen, valued and cared for.

Woman taking a selfie with two women behind her holding a Shoebox gift

Or, Create a Virtual Shoebox

If your local chapter isn't accepting physical Shoeboxes or you want to give a Shoebox gift at any time during the year, we are also accepting Virtual Shoeboxes. You can create these from the comfort of your home!

Create a Virtual Shoebox

Reducing the feelings of isolation and loneliness faced by women impacted by homelessness is one of the most important outcomes of The Shoebox Project.  Women who are experiencing homelessness or living in unstable or unsafe conditions often report feeling disconnected from their community, invisible and alone.  A Shoebox gift not only contains essentials and gifts that are much appreciated by the women we serve, but it’s also a rare gesture of kindness from one community member to another, and serves as a powerful reminder for a woman that she is seen, valued and cared for.

Hands on a keyboard. Photo by Daniel Thomas.