Charity accepting donations to help women living in emergency shelters

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- The holidays are often a time for celebration, but the season can be tough especially for women who are living in emergency shelters.

One South Bay woman is making it her mission to bring smiles to some of their faces one shoebox at a time.

Palo Alto resident and marketing executive Sharon Wong transformed her dining room into a make-shift assembly line.

Wong and her team of volunteers are behind a new charitable initiative called the Shoebox Project for Shelters.

They're asking for community members to donate small gifts worth up to $50. Donations can be everything from new scarves, socks, perfume or shampoo and all packaged in a shoebox.

Donations are then given to domestic violence survivors living in nearby shelters. "A lot of these women, they leave in a rush, they don't have time to pack anything that they own, so they basically just have the clothes on their back, and hoping to find help," Wong said.

The AACI Shelter in Santa Clara County is where some of the donations have gone.

ABC7 News spoke with Ann Le, an AACI legal advocate and a domestic violence survivor herself. She says the shoeboxes can truly brighten up someone's life. "We feel more confident, being stronger, being more independent and we can make it, we'll do it," Le said.

Local businesses are also getting into the spirit. KEEN Garage in Palo Alto is one of the places where people can drop off their box. "People are coming in everyday, buying gifts for themselves and their loved ones and for a few dollars, you can put together a package that not only makes you feel good, but makes a huge a difference to the women," KEEN Garage spokesperson Travis Nichols said.

Wong says she's thrilled to have the help. "What's been so rewarding has been seeing how generous people are, but I know it's a busy time for people, it's hectic, but they've all taken time out to make one shoebox, or three," she said.

Volunteers will be collecting boxes until December 18. To learn more about how you can get help, click here.
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