When I think back on Christmases celebrated as a child, it was letters to Santa Claus, brightly coloured Christmas trees with their flashing lights, bubbling excitement and presents… lots and lots of presents. I think it’s because of these memories that I cherish so dearly that the Santa Shoebox Project really tugs at my heartstrings. Every year for thousands of children, Christmas passes without any of the joy or magic that Christmas should bring for little people – this is where the Santa Shoebox Project comes in. Over the past 10 years, the Shoebox Project has been able to distribute 551 979 personalised shoeboxes to children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds with over 50% of these boxes reaching children in rural areas, giving them a chance to experience the excitement of receiving their very own Christmas present.
This year, the Santa Shoebox Project celebrates it’s 10th birthday and the focus is on how the donation of the shoebox is not just a gift filled with gifts and necessities but an opportunity for a sense of self worth, the hope of a better education, health and hygiene and of course sweeties. I love that these boxes provide children with a chance to experience some of the magic of Christmas and how something as simple as a toothbrush can bring a smile that can outshine any Christmas tree – just scroll through their Facebook page to see for yourself. There are so many children who think that the world doesn’t care about them and seeing their eyes fill with excitement and hear the giggles bubbling over when they open their boxes gives me goosebumps.
To pledge your shoebox and make a little heart happy this Christmas, sign up on the Santa Shoebox website, select your drop-off zone (depending on your region) and choose who you who like to gift a box. Then have some fun! You will receive a list of items that are required like toothbrushes, soap, an outfit of clothing educational supplies, sweets and a toy and these need to be new and age-appropriate (click here to find out how to decorate and fill your box) Pep stores is brilliant for getting all the gifts to fill your box and the average box will cost you around R250 to fill. Then simply drop off your box (or boxes) at your selected drop off zone before the cut-off date for your location!