As with many aspects of 2020, we will be taking a different approach to this year’s Christmas Shoebox Program. What will remain the same is that we will continue to support the women living at Minwaashin Lodge and the children and youth who use the services of the Banff Avenue Community House this holiday season.

What will differ is how and what we give. To ensure everyone’s health and safety, we are asking for cash donations only. In consultation with our community partners, both have highlighted what would be most helpful to those that they support.

Should you choose to donate to the Minwaashin Lodge, your funds will go towards purchasing gift cards for retailers that the women frequent in their neighbourhood. Our goal is to collect $600.

If you plan to donate for the youngsters in the Banff-Ledbury community, our goal is to collect $2,600. Your funds will be used to fill a Christmas stocking. The staff of the community house noted that many of the children look forward to opening our shoeboxes; they see the act of opening a gift as a Canadian tradition. We would still like to provide them with something to open, so the plan is to fill 130 stockings with toothpaste, toothbrushes, a package of crayons or pens, a hat, mittens or gloves, and a candy cane. The items for the stockings will be purchased online in a bulk order.

As with any Christmas season, the caring and generosity that you show our neighbours is greatly appreciated.

Donations can be made by e-transfer to “”; by credit card or Interac through, or by cheque payable to “Rideau Park United Church” (mail or place in mailbox outside Cunningham door). Please put “Shoeboxes” in the message/comment area.

Thank you to the Hopkin family for organizing this outreach again this year.