For the past 14 years, the Santa Shoebox Project has collected and distributed personalised gifts of essential items and treats for underprivileged children throughout the country. The initiative has touched the lives of 957,297 underprivileged children over the years. But, this initiative benefits from the act of people coming together in their communities at work, school, and home to create these beautiful boxes of joy.
By now it’s not news to us that social gatherings won’t be taking place any time soon which means Santa Shoebox decorating gatherings with friends and colleagues will have to put on hold. While that is, of course, disappointing, the Santa Shoebox Project has a virtual, social distancing-approved solution. Despite the global disrupt caused by Covid19, this incredible local charity launched the Virtual Santa Shoebox on Mandela Day this year, making it even easier for those with the means to give back.
For the first time, Personalised Virtual Santa Shoeboxes will be trackable, along with Traditional Santa Shoeboxes, via the Santa Shoebox App which is available from Google Play and the App Store. Using the new virtual tool, supporters will be able to choose their Virtual Santa Shoebox beneficiary child by name, age and gender before selecting the items to be included in the Shoebox. They can then write the child a note and let the Santa Shoebox team do the rest.
Virtual Santa Shoeboxes are made by teams of volunteers and allocated to children living in remote areas of South Africa. Due to the lack of donors in rural areas, these children would otherwise not receive a Santa Shoebox, and quite possibly no end-of-year gift at all. In 2020, with the massive economic impact of Covid19, the value of a Santa Shoebox to an underprivileged child is unquestionable!
Every Virtual Santa Shoebox contains all 8 required items:
• a toothpaste & toothbrush
• soap and facecloth
• a toy
• school supplies
• and an outfit of clothing
Additional sponsored items are added as available and age-appropriate. In the past these have included books, lunch boxes and drinking bottles, teen hygiene products, magazines and fluffy toys.
Of course, for those who like to make up their own boxes, this option still exists. This year, traditional Santa Shoebox pledging opens to the public on 01 September, for those donors who prefer to do their own shopping, decorating, packing and dropping off. From September, donors are able to pledge Santa Shoeboxes online, selecting children living in and around their community by name, age, gender and clothing size. To donate in this way, simply register or login on the Santa Shoebox website now to pledge a box and ensure your donor profile is up to date.
The following items are required to complete a Santa Shoebox:
1. A standard sized shoebox or plastic container, colourfully decorated, with the lid wrapped separately
2. QR coded label, which will be emailed to the donor upon pledging online
8. Outfit of clothing
9. School supplies
Please note that all items must be new, unused and age-appropriate.
Once completed, the decorated Santa Shoeboxes need to be dropped off at central distribution points across the country on designated dates in October and November. From 01 August a list of these sites can be found here.
Team pledging of 20 Shoeboxes or more, which includes Corporate CSI pledges, will be facilitated from 03 August. Later in the year, towards the end of October, supporters will also be invited to volunteer at their local Drop Off site – receiving, checking and packing Santa Shoeboxes. Drop Offs will, of course, be conducted in keeping with prevailing Covid19 regulations.
For detailed information about how to volunteer, please visit the Santa Shoebox Project website.