The target for 2012 is 100 000 shoeboxes, to be dispatched to more than 650 children's homes, orphanages and other child care institutions across the country, with emphasis this year on extending to small towns and farming communities in the country who are in desperate need of assistance.
The heart-warming Santa Shoebox Project is an initiative of the Kidz2Kidz Trust (IT2671/2009), a registered Public Benefit (PBO 930031301) and Non Profit Organisation (NPO 102-098) with Section 18A status, that offers assistance to children in need.
With 'teach your child the joy of giving' as the essence of the project, the Santa Shoebox Project is instrumental in involving people from all walks of life, especially children together with their parents, in giving to children from a distinctly vulnerable social background who may never have received a Christmas gift before. Parents are encouraged to involve their kids who then personally choose and fill the gift boxes and then decorate and label each with the recipient's name.
Spearheaded by Kidz2Kidz founder Dee Boehner and coordinated by Irene Pieters since 2007, joint winners of the 2011 Glamour Women of the Year Awards in the category of 'Most Inspiring Women in Charity in South Africa', the project has grown in leaps and bounds. It started in Cape Town in 2006 with only 180 Santa Shoeboxes, and in the past six years not only extended to Namibia, but more than doubled in size every year, ending on a new record of 70 489 Santa Shoeboxes in 2011.
The Santa Shoebox Project is supported by an extensive network of volunteers across South Africa and Namibia. It also relies on the kind backing of various corporate sponsors pledging monetary or pro bono logistics support, while many companies involve their staff members to pledge Santa Shoeboxes as part of their Corporate Social Investment programmes.
Uniquely, the donor knows the first name, age, gender, and care institution of the child the gift was bought for. The Santa Shoebox Project not only manages the network and distributes the gifts but also provides content guidelines for each individual gift box, to ensure that every child receives an age appropriate gift. Typically this will comprise of some necessities, such as toothpaste and toothbrush, face cloth and soap, as well as some sweets, educational supplies, a toy and an outfit of clothing.
Many people have a desire to contribute to their community or do their 'little bit for charity' but often don't know where to start. The Santa Shoebox Project takes pride in channelling all that positive energy and goodwill into something that is credible, achievable, makes a real difference in the lives of individual children, and leaves the donor with the satisfying feeling of having brought joy to a child during the Festive Season.
How it works:
To participate in this project simply register online where an easy step-by-step procedure will guide you through the process.
Donors need to:
- Register now online as a donor at www.santashoebox.co.za;
- Pledge a box when the website goes live with the recipient names (available around 1 September);
- Select your most convenient drop-off point as well as the name of a recipient of your choice (or more than one);
- Decorate and fill an individualised gift box according to the specified guidelines;
- Label the box with the recipient's name (labels are emailed to donors, together with confirmation of the pledge);
- Deliver the Santa Shoebox to the selected, pre-determined drop-off points on specified dates from where the organisers dispatch the Santa Shoeboxes to the various homes and centres.