Shoebox Project aims to help provide basic essentials - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Shoebox Project aims to help provide basic essentials


Eau Clarie (WQOW)- An effort is underway to make sure families and individuals in our community have the most basic essentials. Things like clean socks, a toothbrush, items many of us take for granted.

"There is approximately 9,200 families in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties that live at or below the poverty level," says Jan Porath, executive director of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley. "So that equates to approximately 14 percent of our population."

According to U.S. census data, a family of four living at the poverty level brings in just $22,000 dollars a year.

"Families have to make very difficult decisions as to 'Do I buy food for the table? or Do I buy a tank of gas so that I can continue to work?'. So there are very difficult decisions," continues Porath. "Prescriptions sometimes go unfilled because there are not dollars available to do that."

Porath says many others go without socks, and essentials like shampoo or a toothbrush. "Things that a lot of us may take for granted on a daily basis, but if we could help support and supplement some families with some of those basic items it may be a little bit easier for them to designate dollars to some other needs."

Volunteer organizations, including the United Way, are hoping to collect 500 shoeboxes, filled with new or unused items.

"Soap and shampoo and the things that you often don't think of," adds April Dodge, who is involved with the Shoebox Project. "You leave them at the hotel room and maybe they could benefit someone."

The boxes will be given to families and individuals in our community who need it most, handed out at places like the Boys and Girls Club, The Free Clinic and The Community Table.

A list, with ideas on what to put in a shoebox, can be found on the United Way's website. You can also find out where to drop off your shoebox donations by following the link below. Shoeboxes will be collected through October 28th.

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