Give an underprivileged child a merry Christmas

The Santa Shoebox Project pledging is officially open and this year’s theme is “Let’s Make Magic”.

The project, which sees that thousands of disadvantaged children receive Christmas presents each year, is excited to announce the millionth shoebox donated, the millionth shoebox dropped off and the millionth child to receive their shoebox.

The project’s national sponsorship and regional manager for North West, Gauteng, Free State,Port Elizabeth and East London, Margie Kostelac, said the interest so far has been overwhelming, largely credited to publicity given by Caxton Local Media newspapers across the country.

“It is the first year we have had such widespread coverage and the response has been amazing. Thank you so much to every newspaper which gave us exposure.

“We look forward to further support from the Caxton group as pledging opens and we work towards distributing the thousands of beautifully decorated shoeboxes to underprivileged children throughout South Africa and Namibia later this year,” Margie said.

Each year the project invites organisations which deal with or care for underprivileged children, orphanages, schools or children’s homes to apply to be beneficiaries of the project.

The project received 2 430 applications this year. All of these applications are vetted by Santa Shoebox Project coordinators before they are approved.

“We publish the list of children’s names per area and supporters can then go to our website, santashoebox.org.za, and select the recipient of their shoebox by name, age and gender. You can select as many recipients as you like.”
“We take active steps to prevent third parties from interfering with and violating the children’s rights. To protect the identity of the recipient children in our project, we no longer display a list of children’s names in direct association with the name of a facility in a public domain, such as our website. This ensures that no one from the public will gain access to a named child through our website. We are aware that many of our donors continue to support the same facilities year after year, and we realise the necessary change to the pledging process may create some disappointment. However, we also know that our donors will support any policy that keeps our children safe from potential harm.”

The website provides a full list of items to be included in a shoebox. Santa Shoebox Project recommends a special toy or gift in the box too, but this is a bonus for the children, as the aim is to give them items they really need. Items include a toothbrush, toothpaste, facecloth, soap, age-appropriate stationery items, an outfit of clothing, an age-appropriate toy and sweets.

How to participate:
• Visit santashoebox.org.za
• Register as a supporter.
• Pick a convenient drop-off point that you can reach on the specified date.
• From September 1, when pledging begins, pledge a shoebox by selecting one or more recipients by name, age and gender.
• Print your QR-coded shoebox labels.
• Decorate or fill your shoebox according to the guidelines found on the website or Facebook page.
• Drop your shoebox at your selected drop-off point on the designated date.
For more information, visit santashoebox.org.za, or contact Margie at margie@santashoebox.org.za.