FINANCE MINISTER PUTS MANITOBA SPIN ON NEW SHOE TRADITION
Finance Minister Cameron Friesen participated in a made-in-Manitoba version of the ‘new shoes on budget day’ tradition for Canadian finance ministers, opting to forego new shoes for himself in favour of a personal donation from members of the government to the Manitoba chapter of The Shoebox Project for Shelters.
“Manitobans are renowned for their generosity,” said Friesen. “This initiative provides support to women who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in communities across Manitoba. Our government is pleased to be able to partner with Shoppers Drug Mart and the Manitoba Real Estate Association in an effort to make a small difference in the lives of women in crisis.”
The Shoebox Project for Shelters, supported by Dream, collects and distributes gifts in the form of shoeboxes to women who are homeless or at high risk of homelessness. Each ‘shoebox’ is filled with items that are not likely to be splurged on during difficult times. Founded in 2011 by Caroline, Jessica, Katy and Vanessa Mulroney, The Shoebox Project now delivers over 36,500 gifts annually to hundreds of communities across Canada and the US.
“In 2016, our Manitoba chapter distributed 1,625 shoeboxes to 41 organizations in 12 communities across the province,” said Alex Todd, co-ordinator for The Shoebox Project for Shelters, supported by Dream. “We are pleased with the government of Manitoba’s recognition of the work being done by organizations such as ours across the province, and encourage all Manitobans to consider making a donation of time or resources to a charity of their choice during 2017.”
During today’s event, the finance minister encouraged all Manitobans to reflect upon their ability to give of their time or resources to charitable organizations in their own communities and challenged Manitoba workplaces to participate in the shoebox project.
“Shoppers Drug Mart is proud to support women’s health in body, mind and spirit,” said Marilyn Sidhu, pharmacist-owner, Shoppers Drug Mart. “Our partnership with The Shoebox Project for Shelters began in 2016 when the company and its pharmacist-owners, front store managers and cosmetic managers built over 3,200 shoeboxes for 133 women’s shelters across Canada including Agape, Ikwe-Widdjiitiwin, The Aurora House and Willow Place. We’re excited to be a part in today’s event by providing Shoppers Drug Mart gift cards and shoeboxes for those in need.”
“An incredible culture of volunteerism and generosity shapes our great province. By extending a caring hand to those in need, we continue to build better and stronger communities together,” said Chris Pennycook, president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association, and governor, MREA Shelter Foundation. “Manitoba realtors are inspired by the great works of The Shoebox Project for Shelters and the dedicated volunteerism of its Manitoba chapter founder Eva Whitmore. I call upon my fellow 2,100 realtors to join with us today, create their own shoebox for shelter and make a difference in the lives of at-risk women in our province.”
The minister noted that Budget 2017 will focus Manitoba’s limited resources on the services that matter most to Manitobans in health care, supports for families and education, and reflected upon Manitoba’s reputation as one of the most charitable provinces in the country.
“In our country’s 150th year, it remains our hope that every Manitoban will take stock of their own ability to give to a charity or organization of their choice,” said Friesen. “Together we can make a precious difference in the life of someone less fortunate.”
The Legislative Building will be an official drop-off location for the Manitoba Chapter of The Shoebox Project until April 30. Workplaces participating in the Budget 2017 challenges are asked to drop their completed shoeboxes into the bin to be located for this purpose at the front entrance of the Legislative Building.