United Way NCA Shoebox Project a Huge Success: Thank You
"The Shoebox Project offers Bethesda Cares an opportunity to partner with United Way to get supplies to folks who are medically vulnerable and homeless. Many of the people living on the street are long-term mentally ill and/or have substance abuse issues and lack any social support." - John Mendez, Bethesda Cares outreach specialist, quoted in a 6/25 Bethesda Patch article
Last week, United Way of the National Capital Area hosted its annual Day of Action. This year’s Day of Action volunteer efforts were focused on concluding United Way NCA’s inaugural Shoebox Project.
Throughout the day volunteers helped decorate, sort, assemble and pack more than 2,000 shoeboxes - twice United Way NCA's goal for this year's project and filled them with personal care and emergency preparedness items. The shoeboxes were then loaded into moving trucks and delivered to 24 member nonprofit organizations in United Way NCA’s eight regions. These shoeboxes will be redistributed to the elderly, veterans and the homeless around the greater Washington region.
Thank you to those who donated a filled shoebox, provided a contribution to purchase a prefilled shoebox or volunteered your time. This project would not have been a success without your support.
Read below to discover a few reasons why these shoeboxes are so valuable to those who receive them:
Personal care and emergency preparedness items can't be purchased with food stamps. Food stamps can only be used for food.
Many of the needy residents in our area have to go through significant, chronic stress day in and day out - and these shoeboxes contain items that can bring immediate relief, and hope.
The shoeboxes will be distributed at a time of year when area pantries are low, such as the summer.
How Your Shoebox Supports those in Need
A few quotes from our member nonprofit shoebox recipients
These shoeboxes are a small token to remind the women and families in our programs that they are surrounded by a caring community that supports them all along their path to a safe and stable life. - Wyatt Schroeder, Communications and Outreach Specialist, Doorways for Women and Families
When our homeless Veterans come to the SE Veterans Service Center, some don't have anything. The shoebox is a nice gift for them to receive when they move because it provides them the basic essentials, which we sometimes take for granted. It gives the person a little uplift to know that someone who put a shoebox together for them thought about them that day. It can bring tears to a man’s eyes. Even for the people moving out of our facility, it’s a great gift for them to leave with. - Gregory Crawford, Executive Director, Access Housing
Some who receive the box will have spent days walking and sleeping on the streets of DC, and will welcome needed sunscreen, lip balm, and a rain poncho. Others will have come to our doors with damaged shoes and may need band aids or ointment to care for their tired feet. And still others will be happy to receive a can opener to prepare the many nonperishable items they may have been offered in their travels. - Chaplain Deborah Chambers, Director of Communications & Outreach, Central Union Mission
When you live on the edge of a living wage, every penny counts. One of the most expensive shopping items in households is hygiene and safety supplies. Honestly, sometimes a person sacrifices these items so they can buy food or pay the rent. With lower hygiene comes discomfort and a potential loss of dignity. Never underestimate the power of soap and shampoo when appearance can be a factor in employment or daily interactions with other people. - Paul Hebblethwaite, Director of Development. The Salvation Army, National Capital Area Command
Those providing boxes will ensure that a significant portion of those we serve receive the vital everyday products most of us take for granted. The shoebox is a package of encouragement and a gracious act of support for those accustomed to making do on DC’s streets with little resources. - Chaplain Deborah Chambers, Director of Communications & Outreach, Central Union Mission