Christmas is a time of year when we stop to think about others. It’s a time to be grateful for what we have and the people we have to share it with. One organisation that connects people through the joy of giving at Christmas is the Santa Shoebox Project.
The Santa Shoebox Project originated in Cape Town in 2006 with a humble 180 shoeboxes. In 14 years it has grown in leaps and bounds, with the number of Santa Shoeboxes donated almost reaching one million! The shoeboxes are distributed to more than 1,000 recipient facilities each year, through more than 60 satellites around South Africa and Namibia.
In many instances this shoebox will be the only gift most of the children receive for the year. The gift makes a difference to each and every child that it has been specially made for. Donors receive information about the precious little person that they are going to give to. Details like their name, gender and age makes this a personal and fulfilling experience for both the donor and the child. It is this personalisation that has made the Santa Shoebox Project such a wonderful success.
Beautiful individually wrapped shoe boxes fill the drop-off centres where they are checked and sorted by Santa’s team of volunteers before being delivered to their very eager and excited recipients. These recipients come from vulnerable social backgrounds including kids who are in orphanages, children’s homes and care centers.
“True gratitude is given by these kids. They take nothing for granted. The expressions on their faces is amazing,” said one of the volunteers working to distribute the boxes.
Another team member tells the story of a 9 year old girl who was so excited by her shoebox gift, “She was so overwhelmed by her shoebox as she had never received a new toy or an unused piece of clothing in her entire life”.
The organisation shares many heart-warming photos of kids opening presents on Facebook for donors to see their smiling faces when opening the gifts. It is a wonderful chance for donor’s to see a child’s look of anticipation as they wonder if this special gift could really be for them!
All children should be able to feel the Christmas spirit and the magic that goes with opening a present that is especially for them. And these kids are not expecting the latest gadget! These beautiful, happy faces are the result of receiving some basic items like an educational toy and an item of clothing, or sometimes even a simple tube of toothpaste!
This Thursday, as we are all getting ready to experience the joy of Christmas, we would like to say thank you to the team at the Santa Shoebox Project. Thanks to everyone involved in bringing big bright smiles to those children’s faces.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.