Top News

Project Kindness NL is collecting shoeboxes of gifts for local children — no strings attached


They call themselves Project Kindness NL, and this holiday season, they plan to pick up the Christmas shoebox idea where certain other charities fall short.

Headed by Hasan Hai — a St. John’s man whom The Telegram profiled last month for his commitment to doing good deeds — Project Kindness is a small, new group of local volunteers whose mission is to initiate, inspire and promote acts of kindness and charity.

RELATED STORIES:

Volunteer sacked for disagreeing with group’s religious beliefs

Hasan Hai lives his life doing kind deeds — and would love for you to do the same

The group has partnered with the Single Parents’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SPAN) to collect donations of shoeboxes filled with small stocking stuffer-type gifts for local children.

It’s a similar program to Operation Christmas Child, which has been a project of non-denominational evangelical organization Samaritan’s Purse for many years. The project sees donated shoeboxes distributed to children in countries like Uruguay, El Salvador, Sierra Leone, Costa Rica, Haiti, Chile and the Ukraine. While the shoeboxes are given to children regardless of their religion, Samaritan’s Purse director of communications Jeff Adams told The Telegram earlier this year, a Bible study program is often offered to the children and their families in situations where prior approval has been received.

Samaritan’s Purse “Connect” volunteers are required to sign a statement of faith, which includes confirming that they do not agree with same-sex marriage or abortion.

 “We included these specifics not because our view on these issues had changed, but simply because the world’s views on these has changed to the point where we felt the need to again remind our volunteers that our organization accepts the Bible as the inspired and infallible word of God,” Adams told The Telegram in May. “The Bible does not condone sex outside marriage, it defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, and it upholds the sanctity of life.”

Kay Cossar was the longtime co-ordinator for Operation Christmas Child in the Burgeo area, but, as The Telegram explained in a previous article, she was told her services were no longer needed after she declined to sign the updated statement of faith. Cossar said she was unable to sign it, since she doesn’t share the organization’s views.

Cossar has spent the past year focusing on her volunteer work as chairwoman of her local Senior Citizens’ Housing Centre, and providing music (along with her husband) at a chronic care facility.

Hai said Project Kindness NL embraces diversity, inclusiveness and a place for everyone, and has found that SPAN holds the same values.

“There have been some very strong public opinions regarding the non-inclusive nature of other charities, their beliefs, and who they allow to work for them,” Hai said, noting Project Kindness aims to build a stronger community.

From today until Dec. 18, Project Kindness NL will collecting shoeboxes filled with small Christmas gifts for children: gender-neutral toys, chocolate, candy, personal care and hygiene items and other surprises. All items should be in new condition, intended for children, and unwrapped.

RONA stores in St. John’s, Goulds, Kelligrews and Paradise have joined Project Kindness NL as drop-off locations for the Christmas shoeboxes. The boxes will then be delivered to SPAN on Dec. 19 for distribution in time for Christmas.

Hai likes the idea of a shoebox campaign because it’s a mix of the practical and the fun.

“Rather than donating one gift, it’s several small ones,” he explained. “It’s also an easy concept for the public to wrap their head around when donating: fill a box with small gifts and treats for a child.

“It’s hard to put into words just how excited I am about this project. The thought of bringing the people of the province together in a shared goal of helping others who need help is food for the soul.”

SPAN currently has 300 single parents families registered to participate in its annual Christmas program. The organization serves an average of 220 single parent families at its food bank each month, and receives more than 30 crisis calls monthly. Christmas is a particularly stressful time for many families, said Elaine Balsom, project coordinator for SPAN.

“Families may have registered with us, however, there are always emergency cases as well,” Balsom said. “We usually end up with 300 to 350 families in need.

“I’m excited about this project. It’s something new. Sometimes we need to remember how much need there is locally, as people can often fall through the cracks.”

For more information, visit Project Kindness NL on Facebook.

Headed by Hasan Hai — a St. John’s man whom The Telegram profiled last month for his commitment to doing good deeds — Project Kindness is a small, new group of local volunteers whose mission is to initiate, inspire and promote acts of kindness and charity.

RELATED STORIES:

Volunteer sacked for disagreeing with group’s religious beliefs

Hasan Hai lives his life doing kind deeds — and would love for you to do the same

The group has partnered with the Single Parents’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SPAN) to collect donations of shoeboxes filled with small stocking stuffer-type gifts for local children.

It’s a similar program to Operation Christmas Child, which has been a project of non-denominational evangelical organization Samaritan’s Purse for many years. The project sees donated shoeboxes distributed to children in countries like Uruguay, El Salvador, Sierra Leone, Costa Rica, Haiti, Chile and the Ukraine. While the shoeboxes are given to children regardless of their religion, Samaritan’s Purse director of communications Jeff Adams told The Telegram earlier this year, a Bible study program is often offered to the children and their families in situations where prior approval has been received.

Samaritan’s Purse “Connect” volunteers are required to sign a statement of faith, which includes confirming that they do not agree with same-sex marriage or abortion.

 “We included these specifics not because our view on these issues had changed, but simply because the world’s views on these has changed to the point where we felt the need to again remind our volunteers that our organization accepts the Bible as the inspired and infallible word of God,” Adams told The Telegram in May. “The Bible does not condone sex outside marriage, it defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, and it upholds the sanctity of life.”

Kay Cossar was the longtime co-ordinator for Operation Christmas Child in the Burgeo area, but, as The Telegram explained in a previous article, she was told her services were no longer needed after she declined to sign the updated statement of faith. Cossar said she was unable to sign it, since she doesn’t share the organization’s views.

Cossar has spent the past year focusing on her volunteer work as chairwoman of her local Senior Citizens’ Housing Centre, and providing music (along with her husband) at a chronic care facility.

Hai said Project Kindness NL embraces diversity, inclusiveness and a place for everyone, and has found that SPAN holds the same values.

“There have been some very strong public opinions regarding the non-inclusive nature of other charities, their beliefs, and who they allow to work for them,” Hai said, noting Project Kindness aims to build a stronger community.

From today until Dec. 18, Project Kindness NL will collecting shoeboxes filled with small Christmas gifts for children: gender-neutral toys, chocolate, candy, personal care and hygiene items and other surprises. All items should be in new condition, intended for children, and unwrapped.

RONA stores in St. John’s, Goulds, Kelligrews and Paradise have joined Project Kindness NL as drop-off locations for the Christmas shoeboxes. The boxes will then be delivered to SPAN on Dec. 19 for distribution in time for Christmas.

Hai likes the idea of a shoebox campaign because it’s a mix of the practical and the fun.

“Rather than donating one gift, it’s several small ones,” he explained. “It’s also an easy concept for the public to wrap their head around when donating: fill a box with small gifts and treats for a child.

“It’s hard to put into words just how excited I am about this project. The thought of bringing the people of the province together in a shared goal of helping others who need help is food for the soul.”

SPAN currently has 300 single parents families registered to participate in its annual Christmas program. The organization serves an average of 220 single parent families at its food bank each month, and receives more than 30 crisis calls monthly. Christmas is a particularly stressful time for many families, said Elaine Balsom, project coordinator for SPAN.

“Families may have registered with us, however, there are always emergency cases as well,” Balsom said. “We usually end up with 300 to 350 families in need.

“I’m excited about this project. It’s something new. Sometimes we need to remember how much need there is locally, as people can often fall through the cracks.”

For more information, visit Project Kindness NL on Facebook.

Recent Stories