Take an empty shoebox and decorate it with colourful paper, stickers or paint. Add a few essential items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, and finish off with a sprinkling of clothes, school items and tasty treats! The result is two eyes beaming with excitement, a smile as wide as the Blyde River Canyon and a heart filled with gratitude.
This is what the Santa Shoebox campaign is all about.
It originated in Cape Town in 2006 with 180 shoeboxes.
In 16 years, it has grown to 1 077 289 shoeboxes. The shoeboxes are distributed to more than 1000 facilities each year. The success of the Project can largely be attributed to its personal nature. Donors give gifts of essential items and treats to children whose names, ages and genders are known. The minimum 8 required items are a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, a face cloth, sweets, a toy, an educational item and an outfit of clothing – all new, unused and age-appropriate.
John Thompson’s Santa Shoebox project began in 2015 when the Bellville Finance department collected 25 shoeboxes! Over the years, staff from the Package Boiler department, Drawing Office, Manufacturing and Management also got involved in packing shoeboxes. Those that could not afford to contribute an entire shoebox themselves offered to donate to the shoebox project.
Last year, we set our target at 75 shoeboxes – and delivered all 75! This year we set out to collect 100 shoeboxes. This was a bold target, but “where there is a will, there’s a way”.
We approached Quick Load Logistics. They are one of our key logistics partners and, amongst other items, transport empty stoker link crates from our Isando and Durban branches. We were delighted when they accepted our invitation to participate in our initiative and agreed to transport our Santa Shoeboxes free of charge!
With a courier partner in our team, the campaign was extended to our Isando and Durban colleagues, whose generosity exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations. We were working together as one big family and not in isolation.
From our Durban staff members in Bayhead to staff across the Boilerserve sites, Isando and Bellville, we delivered an amazing 207 shoeboxes at the Canal Walk drop-off in November 2022. Yes, 207 shoeboxes! Sibambene!!!
To each of you who contributed or assisted in whatever way this year, our heartfelt thanks and gratitude. Without each one of you, this project would not be the success story it has become.
With grateful hearts, Suben, Takia and Donne