love boxes toronto

Toronto woman creates 3,000 self-care boxes for vulnerable women

A foundation started by a Toronto woman has distributed over 3,000 self care boxes to those who need them most right now: vulnerable women.

Sheen for She distributes their "Love Boxes" to individual women living below the poverty line as well as shelters across the GTA such as Ernestine's Women's Shelter, Juliette's Place, St. Stephen's Community House, Salvation Army's Evangeline Shelter and Elizabeth Fry.

Each customized box contains self-care items like face care, nail care and body care products such as lip balms, tweezers, nail clippers and toothpaste. The foundation launched the project in May 2020, and managed to deliver 500 boxes within just two months.

Though the Love Box Project was launched just last year, CEO of Sheen for She Mary Hawk started the foundation when she was just 18.

"The whole world is confused right now about what's going on and how we're going to deal with the situation, but it's much more troubling for the people I was working with," Hawk told blogTO.

"When you develop such a close bond feels like they're part of your extended family. It was hard to come across the news and think about how we were going to strategize for the unique situations of every single woman."

In order to help put that strategy together, Hawk and her team did lots of research, interviewing and making phone calls to their shelter partners to ask what they were lacking and what resources women need, and how they could help with that.

They also asked women what they've been going through and how shutdowns and restrictions have impacted their lives. It turned out they were missing out on "that nurturing feeling of being around people who care about them," according to Hawk.

Sheen for She is known for their in-person programming in four categories: Esthetics, Self-Defense Training, Healing Circles and Self-Care Workshops.

As they couldn't proceed with in-person programming, outreach programming was a "more safe, very tangible way to make sure these women feel loved and supported during this time," according to Hawk. Except for Esthetics, they're also currently continuing all programming online.

Sheen for She partnered with Rising Youth for the first phase of their project and distributed hundreds of boxes, but their second phase funded by Red Cross enabled them to distribute over 3,000. They worked with over 50 organizations, held a drive, distributed boxes to women living in tents and "wanted to make sure that no woman was left behind."

So who do they want to partner with for their next, biggest phase yet? You! They're appealing to the community in a GoFundMe to raise $300,000 for 5,000 Love Boxes. Each one is valued at $60, so if you have that to spare it's enough to support one individual. 

When it comes to reactions Hawk has gotten to the Love Boxes, she says most women are "grateful and so surprised," and that it "feels like I've made a lot of different new bonds," and that a lot of people have also emailed wanting to speak to them and tell their story. This inspired an element to the project that's coming soon to the foundation's YouTube channel.

"They want to share their stories, they want to use me as a platform to show the world what they're going through, how they're dealing with the pandemic," says Hawk, noting people want to share their stories about job loss and addiction.

If you want to help out with the Love Box Project's $300,000 goal they're taking donations, and you can also apply to become a member of the She League Team and help out with their programs.

Lead photo by

Sheen for She


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