Christmas project sends 82 shoeboxes to Canadian service men and women



WHEN she started her project a few weeks ago, Linda Butler estimated that her Christmas shoeboxes for servicemen and women would number around 10 boxes. Thanks to donations from businesses and caring individuals, the number of shoeboxes blossomed and 82 completed boxes are heading to their destinations via Canada Post and the Canadian military.
Linda and her team of four gathered around her dining room table wrapping gifts and stuffing shoeboxes. Her living room was filled with donations and boxes.
The shoeboxes are destined for Canadian servicemen and women serving all over the globe this Christmas. Linda was inspired when her own son, Master Corporal William Butler could not make it home for Christmas this year due to his posting overseas.

Above: Shown preparing the Christmas shoeboxes that were sent to Canadian service men and women overseas are from left to right, Linda Butler, Donna Sommerville, Cheryl Raymond, Penny VanHalteren and Barb Pankhurst.

“I’ve had $1000 donated from Thompson Waters Funeral Home. I’ve had a few people donate $150,” said Linda of her donations from the community. “Lots of people have been dropping off goodies, between my work and [husband] Peter’s work, and The Maple Leaf. The schools did their pictures.”
They also received tooth brushes from Dr. Janushewski and Associates, chip nuts from Picard’s Peanuts, and water bottles and frisbees from Goodlife Fitness. Factory Shoe in Hamilton, Walmart and Al’s Shoes helped donate shoe boxes.
Linda’s team was composed of Donna Sommerville, Penny VanHalteren, Linda’s mom Barb Pankhurst and Cheryl Raymond. Cheryl and Linda are kindred spirits as she too has a son stationed overseas that can’t come home for Christmas. They met through a Kindness Counts Facebook page to help out with the boxes project.
The ladies separated boxes by location, ensuring that items inside are appropriate for the climates they are going to. Inside the boxes will go treats, games, frisbees, handmade mini-sewing kits, toiletries, puzzle books, clothing, and Canadiana trinkets and clothing.
Accompanying the items are hand-written Christmas cards from Linda and letters from St. Cecilia students. Later on, Cheryl will send out letters from St. Peter’s in Cambridge where her son Corporal Donald Raymond attended.
“I’m going to ask my son if he can get the people he’s stationed with to send notes back to the kids who have sent him notes,” said Cheryl. Upon his return home, Corporal Raymond will make a personal thank you to St. Peters in Cambridge for their kind correspondences.
Linda said that she would definitely continue making her shoeboxes next year thanks to all the donations and help she received.
“I want to thank the community for making this a success,” said Linda beaming “even the anonymous donations that I received. I had people who offered money transfers because they didn’t live around here. I’ve had people donate from all over the county. Thanks to them we can send out so many.”
“When I came in here, I was flabbergasted by what was all here,” smiled Cheryl.
The ladies say that they do it to support our troops who risk their lives serving our country and allies across the world.
“They do so much for us by their service, this is just a good way we can thank them for that,” said Donna whose brother is a veteran.
“This is a wonderful way we can bring Christmas to them,” said Cheryl.

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