This year, I attended many events in support of the amazing organizations in Burlington and Halton that help the women in our community who are facing challenges in their lives. Their experiences range from homelessness and poverty, to physical and emotional abuse, to difficulties finding gainful employment and even just having a hard time putting food on the table. We lost a beloved local resident and public servant this year due to alleged domestic violence.
I speak to local school groups and young girls on a regular basis about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, as politics across Canada faces massive under-representation. I also encourage women to see themselves working in traditionally male-dominated fields that they are passionate about.
We have all been reminded many times this year that we, like any city, have women’s issues that deserve our continued attention and action. That was why this holiday season, I wanted to support The Shoebox Project for Women, a registered charity that collects and distributes gift-filled shoeboxes to women impacted by homelessness in communities across Canada. For women who have been displaced from their homes and estranged from their families, special occasions can be particularly challenging. Often, women report feeling disconnected from society, invisible and alone. A shoebox gift is a powerful reminder for a woman that she has not been forgotten and that she remains a valued and respected member of her community.
I invited our generous Burlington community and staff at City Hall to join me in supporting this wonderful organization. In three weeks, we saw a total of 90 shoeboxes appear under the Christmas tree in my office. Those were then delivered to The Shoebox Project Halton Chapter on Dec. 4 — to be given to local women in our community.
There are not enough words to show how truly thankful I am to everyone in our community who supported the campaign — particularly, our Burlington Professional Firefighters Association Executive (who brought in 10 shoeboxes) and The Appleby Walkers’ Group (who collectively brought in more than 20 shoeboxes). You all made me a very proud Mayor.
I encourage everyone to visit shoeboxproject.com to learn more about this great cause.
We are Canada’s Best Community to live in and raise a family for many reasons, but I think it’s the generosity of our people that truly make us shine, especially over the holidays.