It’s just an old shoebox. Something that you’d probably find in the back of your closet and throw away. But when filled with much needed hygiene items and daily living supplies, that shoebox becomes something important to Atlanta’s homeless women, children and men.

And, thanks to United Way of Greater Atlanta’s valued nonprofit partners, like the City of Refuge, decorated and filled shoeboxes donated to the Shoebox Project, are getting into the hands of those who value their contents more than many of us may ever have to comprehend.

Imagine driving into the heart of one of Atlanta’s toughest neighborhoods, that’s where you will find the City of Refuge. A leader in the business of social transformation, the nonprofit operates every day with a mission to transform the notorious 30314 area of Atlanta that has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the most violent areas in the US, accounting for 60 percent of all murders in Atlanta. Focused on empowering and equipping local residents with the necessary tools to end the generational poverty that exists in the area, City of Refuge has been transforming lives since it first opened its doors in 1997.

Because of their impact and reach, the City of Refuge became one of United Way of Greater Atlanta’s annual Shoebox Project partners in 2009. Since then, the donated shoeboxes given to the nonprofit for distribution to their clients have become an ongoing symbol of hope and encouragement. They are one of the first things individuals and families receive when they walk in the door. And, they are a nod of acknowledgement, when they transition to their next home, and their children are enrolled in after-school programs.

As this year’s Shoebox Project wraps up, the United Way of Greater Atlanta wants to salute all of our more than two hundred valued partners, like the City of Refuge for their assistance in distributing donated shoeboxes to Atlanta’s homeless men, women and children. Because of these partnerships we are able to make a difference in getting much needed hygiene items and daily living supplies into the hands of our area’s most vulnerable population.

Thank you to all our partners of the 2016 Shoebox Project. Your commitment and passion for this annual project has a direct impact on its ongoing success!