SA charity the Santa Shoebox Project, which presents thousands of personalised Christmas gifts in shoeboxes to underprivileged kids every year, is set to reach its millionth child this year.
The project will ask donors to take part in helping to fill these boxes from September 1.
“This year we will be celebrating that we’ve made one million Christmas brighter for underprivileged children in South Africa,” says Santa Shoebox CEO Deborah Zelezniak.
“We hope donors will help us achieve this momentous milestone by getting involved and pledging many more Shoeboxes this year.”
Children’s names will be made available on the Santa Shoebox Project website at www.santashoebox.org.za from September 1, where donors can open a profile to gain access to the children’s first name, age, gender and clothing size in order to create a personalised gift for the selected child or children.
The shoebox must contain a toothbrush and toothpaste; a facecloth and cake of soap; school supplies; an item of clothing; sweets and a toy.
Items must be new, unused and age-appropriate, and additional items are welcome too, as long as they all fit into a medium-sized shoebox the size of an adult running shoe box.
An extra item might include a re-usable shopping bag so the child can carry their Shoebox home.
Donors are also asked to festively decorate their boxes with the lid wrapped separately to the box, so the child can ope it without damaging the decorations.
In the context of Covid-19, donors must sanitise their hands and wear a mask when packing their Shoeboxes at least three days before dropping their boxes off.
Donors will register for a Drop Off in their area on specific dates in October and November, allowing them to make up Shoeboxes for children living in and around their community.
There is also an option of virtual Santa Shoeboxes for donors unable to do their own shopping, packing and dropping. These 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 kids would otherwise not receive a Santa Shoebox and quite possibly no Christmas gift at all.
To contribute to a Virtual Santa Shoebox visit https://santashoebox.org.za/virtual-santa-shoebox/.
Santa Shoeboxes can be tracked via the Santa Shoebox App available from Google Play and the App Store. In this way donors can follow their Shoebox from the time they pledge to the magical moment when the child receives their very own Santa Shoebox.
Towards the end of October, supporters will be invited to volunteer at their nearest drop off, to be conducted in line with prevailing Covid-19 regulations.
For more information on how to pledge and volunteer, visit the Santa Shoebox Project website at https://santashoebox.org.za/