Manitoba Budget 2017: Finance minister eschews new shoes on budget day

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Manitoba Budget 2017: Finance minister eschews new shoes on budget day

Manitoba's finance minister is sticking to his well-worn soles and putting a new spin on the tradition of buying shoes for budget day.

Cameron Friesen is opting instead to gather donations from members of the government to present to the Manitoba chapter of the Shoebox Project for Shelters.

"Manitobans are renowned for their generosity," said Friesen. "This initiative provides support to women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in communities across Manitoba."

Each shoebox is filled with items that are not likely to be splurged on during difficult times. The Canadian-based charity was founded in 2011 by Caroline, Jessica, Katy and Vanessa Mulroney and now delivers more than 36,500 gifts annually to hundreds of communities across Canada and the U.S.

"In 2016, our Manitoba chapter distributed 1,625 shoeboxes to 41 organizations in 12 communities across the province," said Alex Todd, who co-ordinates the Manitoba Shoebox Project.

During Tuesday's event, Friesen encouraged all Manitobans to reflect upon their ability to give time or resources to charitable organizations in their own communities and challenged Manitoba workplaces to participate in the shoebox project.

"In our country's 150th year, it remains our hope that every Manitoban will take stock of their own ability to give to a charity or organization of their choice," he said. "Together we can make a precious difference in the life of someone less fortunate."

​The legislative building will be an official drop-off location for the Manitoba chapter of the Shoebox Project until April 30.  Workplaces participating in the budget 2017 challenge are asked to drop their completed shoeboxes into a bin at the front entrance.