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 (SSB).
A wonderful South African project that is rapidly growing, SSB started in 2006 with 180 gift boxes given to children that Christmas, but by 2013 this number had grown to just under 120,000!
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 SSB such a wonderful success.
Have a watch of this little video t learn more about SSB:
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”.
This year, the project has a great theme: KISS – Keep it Sustainable, Santa. A theme that is great for the kids and the environment.
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 an iPad! 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! You can see in this picture when the kids were asked to hold up their favourite items from their gift box some of them held up toothpaste. Items that we use on a daily basis bring so much joy to those that don’t have them.
This Thursday, as we are all getting ready to experience the joy of Christmas, we would like to say thank you to Santa Shoebox Project. Thanks to all the people involved in bringing wide eyes and big bright smiles to those children’s faces.
Miss Fish Biz