A St. Anne student has brought a worthwhile program from the Ontario Legislature all the way back to Sarnia.
Annabelle Rayson was a legislative page at Queen's Park earlier this year. While in that role, she met and spoke to Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney.
"She told me about the Shoebox Project, a charity that she founded with her sisters-in-law," Annabelle says. "As soon as I heard about it I knew I wanted to get my school involved."
The school's WE Schools Club teamed up with the WE Wellbeing Club to promote the project and collected enough items to fill more than 60 shoe boxes. The club members met twice a week with teachers Ms. Barbato and Mrs. Ross to wrap and fill the boxes, which will be distributed to women at risk in the community.
"We are grateful for the outpouring of generosity from our St. Anne school community," says Ms. Barbato. "Together, we are fostering stewardship, leadership and social justice by empowering our youth to live their faith."
The Shoebox Project has also spread to St. Michael Catholic School in Bright's Grove, where the Social Justice and Wellbeing Leadership Team has taken it on.
Most of the shoeboxes are filled with items like makeup, lotion, gift cards, scarves and socks. It also includes a hand-written note of encouragement to the woman or girl who receives it.
"That's the best part," says Annabelle. "We want to give them an uplifting message and to let them know that things will get better."
All of the shoeboxes are being donated to several organizations in Sarnia which support women at risk, including The Haven, Inn of the Good Shepherd, Sarnia Sexual Assault Survivors and the Women's Interval Home, Sarnia.
In the photos (top) Students in the We Schools and We Wellbeing Clubs at St. Anne pose with the many items collected for the Shoebox Project; (above right) Annabelle Rayson (front middle) poses with members of the St. Michael Bright's Grove Social Justice and Wellbeing Leadership Team, who also contributed to the project and ; and (bottom left) with Attorney General Caroline Mulroney at the Ontario Legislature.