Every year, Linda Ferguson volunteers her time to gather shoeboxes full of supplies for women in homeless shelters.

It’s all part of an initiative called The Shoebox Project, which began in Toronto in 2011.

Five years ago, Ferguson found out about it from her daughter.

“I called up [the] head office in Toronto and I asked them if there was someone organizing it on Vancouver Island and there was nobody so they asked me if I would like to be the co-ordinator,” she said.

According to organizers, 20 per cent of single mothers in Canada are raising their kids in poverty and the number of women using emergency weather mats have gone up by 625 per cent in the past five years

Organizers also said among Victoria’s homeless population, Indigenous people continue to be over-represented

For Ferguson, the reason for giving hits close to home.

“I personally have been abused as a woman, so this resonated with me right away. And with the whole #metoo movement now that’s happening it’s even more important to make women aware, nobody’s judging you. We just want you to know you have a safe place. There are people out there that will help you, give you the tools and the education to turn your life around. It’s totally possible,” she said.

The group is trying to raise 1,500 shoeboxes by Dec. 7.

You can find a list of drop-off locations at http://www.shoeboxproject.com/victoria.html.

Calvin To