Five-year-old Nahanni Cole and 10-year-old sister Lillian are planning to fill their Gordon Head garage with shoeboxes full of quality gifts and toys for Indigenous children in remote B.C. communities. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Victoria’s booming shoebox campaign part of ‘reconciliaction’

Family challenges Victoria to fill their garage with 1,000 shoeboxes for indigenous youth

A Gordon Head family’s goal of filling their garage with 1,000 shoeboxes for Indigenous youth in remote locations is catching on.

Lynn Cole, mother of Lillian, 10, and Nahanni, 5, has started the Victoria chapter of the I Love First Peoples national movement. At the centre of the movement is the creation of a shoebox, or shoebox-sized tote, filled with quality toys and gifts and $5 towards shipping fees. The campaign runs this fall with a schedule to deliver the goods in the spring to the Gitsegukla and Kitwanga First Nations communities (north of Smithers) and hopefully more.

“The goal is that all of the children in the communities get a shoebox,” said Cole, who only started the Victoria chapter of ILFP on Oct. 29. “It lets the children know someone else out there cares about them.”

In addition to toys and gifts the box also has a letter (could be a page of art for the younger donors) of support and encouragement.

Cole, who is of Métis heritage, was told the ILFP had just a few chapters last year but is now a national movement with 31 and growing.

“It’s growing fast, people shared one of our Facebook posts 111 times already. [Nationally] it was only 25 chapters last week.”

Her daughters can take pride in filling the first shoebox for Victoria ILFP but also for spearheading the movement at their school, Campus View elementary. Lillian credits her Grade 5 teacher Mme. Françoise Roux for helping her and her classmates challenge the students at the rest of the school.

Sir James Douglas is also on board through its active Me 2 We club, said Cole, whose hoping other schools will come aboard.

The shoebox campaign is part of the ‘reconciliaction’ movement born out of the 2015 TRC report and recommendations.

I Love First People’s mandate is to empower education with Indigenous youth. Ideally, a donating child starts a box and adds the kind of toys and gifts you’d pass to a loved one, not a dollar store purchase or something that’s going to break, Cole said. Children then add in $5 to cover shipping costs, and a personalized letter.

Quality gifts that make a child or youth happy could include finger paint, modelling clay, colouring book, stickers, ball cap, gloves, fun socks, sunglasses, jewelry, hair accessories, stuffed animal, puzzle, nerf ball, whistle, compass, glow in the dark decal, seed starter kit, flashlight, tambourine, harmonica, flute, small hand drum, sketch pad, gel pens, sharpies, journal, etc.

ILFP.ca has printable instructions and the boxes can be designed for age categories 3 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 12, and 13 to 16. They are both gender specific, male or female, or can be non-gender specific.

“They’ll be delivered in a day of celebration, followed up with an awards and merits program in their school,” Cole said. “ILFP has a conversation in the community to ask, how can we help and support you with education.”

Locally, all five FrontRunners stores are drop off locations for the shoeboxes, as well as Power To Be’s Fort Street office, and the Owl Designer Fair Dec. 1 and 2.

Interested parties can visit www.ilovefirstpeoples.ca/shoebox-gifts or email Cole at victoria.ilfp@gmail.com.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Reynolds Secondary principal pens letter to parents after student involved in fatal crash

Various supports available to students, staff and community

Judge quashes Victoria man’s appeal of 90 day weekend sentence for trafficking meth

Godofredo Narboneta Ruiz was the owner, driver of vehicle used to transport the drugs

Latin American film fest celebrates 10 years of storytelling on screen

Festival runs Sept. 17-22, features works from Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina, Peru and Spain

Sidney’s Star Cinema puts on the ritz for Downton Abbey

Special screening of the aristocractic period piece marks theatre’s 21st anniversary

Traffic slowed after reports of a pedestrian struck in Colwood

Incident occurred on Metchosin Road near Sooke Road intersection

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Vancouver Island man bikes through B.C. Interior for mental health, addiction awareness

Vancouver Island Resident Mat Fee is approaching the final phase of his cross-Canada bike journey to raise awareness about addiction recovery.

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Most Read