Santa Shoebox kicks off

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

Margie Kostelac is the Santa Shoebox Project’s regional manager in North West.

The project, which sees that thousands of disadvantaged children receive Christmas presents each year, last year reached the millionth child a shoebox has been donated to.

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

The list of names for this year’s Santa Shoeboxes have been made available on the Santa Shoebox Project website (www.santashoebox.org.za) and donors can now register to access the children’s first name, age, gender and clothing size.

“We publish the list of children’s names per area and supporters. You can select as many recipients as you like.”
Donors register for a drop-off in their area, which takes place on specific dates in October and November and creates shoeboxes for children living in and around their own community.

The required contents of a Santa Shoebox have been chosen with the underprivileged child in mind – a toothbrush and toothpaste, a facecloth and bar of soap, a toy, sweets, school supplies and an outfit of clothing.

All items must be new, unused and age-appropriate. Extra items are most welcome, as long as they all fit into a medium-sized shoebox – the size of an adult running shoe box. Extra items could include, for example, a reusable shopping bag in which the child can carry their shoebox home or a cloth mask.

Shoeboxes should be cheerfully decorated, with the lid wrapped separately to the box, allowing it to be opened without damaging the decorations.

In the interests of volunteer and beneficiary safety, donors are asked to sanitise their hands and wear a mask when packing the shoeboxes, and to do so a minimum of three days prior to dropping their shoeboxes off.

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.

All Santa Shoeboxes are trackable via the Santa Shoebox app, which is available from Google Play and the App Store. Track your shoebox from the moment you pledge to the magical moment the child receives their very own Santa Shoebox.

Towards the end of October, supporters will be invited to volunteer at their local drop-off, receiving, checking and packing Santa Shoeboxes. Drop-offs will be conducted in keeping with prevailing Covid-19 regulations.

For detailed information about how to pledge and how to volunteer, visit the Santa Shoebox Project website or email info@santashoebox.org.za.