The project, which was established in 2006 as an enterprise of the Kidz2Kidz Trust, has been pivotal in involving members of communities, whether old or young, in making the Christmas period that much more special for children who may have never received a Christmas gift before.
Susan Watts, General Manager at RE/MAX Living, says: “This is an amazing initiative that we wanted to give our full support to. There are 48 agents working at RE/MAX Living, yet we managed to reach our target and wrap 150 boxes. This is thanks to the commitment of the staff and agents we have here, many involved their families, friends and clients and together we were able to achieve our goal. Special thanks to Margie Knowles and Nasmunesa Badr who coordinated this mammoth task in the respective offices.”
The 150 boxes that were delivered by RE/MAX Living to the final drop off point in Kloof Street were met by a standing ovation. This donation will form a part of the 70 233 shoe boxes that have been pledged to children by the organisation. To date they have collected 61 865 shoe boxes, with the number growing daily. This is a far cry from the humble beginnings of only a 180 Santa shoeboxes in the first year of the project. The number grew to 2000 in 2007, 8000 in 2008 and 16 000 in 2009. In 2010 the project more than doubled in size to close on approximately 32 000 Santa Shoeboxes, which were distributed to more than 350 children’s homes, crèches, Educare centres and places of safety around the country, even extending as far as Botswana and Namibia.
“Most people want to uplift and help others within their community but may not know where to start. This project gives them guidelines on how to get involved and make a difference to a specific child’s life. It is something credible and unique as the donors know the first name, age, gender and care institution of the child the gift was bought for,” says Watts.
The Santa Shoebox Project manages the networks and distributes the gifts, as wells as provides content guidelines for each individual gift box to ensure that every child receives an age appropriate gift. The gift will typically comprise some practical necessities, such as toothpaste and toothbrush, face cloth and soap, as well as some sweets, educational supplies, a toy and an item of clothing.
?”The Santa Shoe Box Project is doing amazing work for the children in South Africa. I challenge every organisation in the Western Cape to beat our number,” Watts concludes.