Gift giving season off to a great start

Santa Shoebox volunteers. Back row (left to right): Marianne Fischer, Elsa Franke, Ilse Moolman, Elana Fourie, Suzette van der Berg, Carine van der Westhuizen, Pepé Ludick. Front row (left to right): Leigh Nunes, Tiffiney du Preez and Julize van der Westhuizen. PHOTO: Supplied

The popular gift-giving initiative, Santa Shoebox, which reaches a total of 1 077 289 children across South Africa and Namibia, is ready to spread some festive cheer once again. The project, which started in 2006, is aimed at children who live in poverty, often with uncertain access to quality education and essential items, and certainly no hope of treats for Christmas.

According a Santa Shoebox volunteer Leigh Nunes, donors pledge their shoeboxes to children they choose by name. There are eight items which are required in each box which includes soap, facecloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, educational supplies, sweets, an outfit of clothing and a toy, all new and age-appropriate.

“Under this year’s theme of ‘Share the Love’, donors had the option to duplicate an item in their box which will enable the beneficiary child to gift that item to a friend or family member. This helps to empower the child while teaching them the joy of giving – the mantra of our beloved project. An underprivileged child has the same potential, value, and full, layered life that any child does. They simply aren’t given the same opportunities, ‘Share the Love’ is about empowering that child,” says Nunes.

This year the community of Bloemfontein showed up by surpassing their target of 1500 boxes. Eunice Primary School collected over 800 boxes for the second year in a row while St Andrew’s School donated over 400 boxes and also agreed to be the drop-off venue for 2022. “Thank you to the Bloemfontein community for digging deep and helping.”

While the pledging and drop off of traditional Santa Shoeboxes is now complete for the year, they are always looking for volunteers and virtual Santa Shoeboxes can be pledged online throughout the year. “The Santa Shoebox Legacy also offers the option to donate financially at any stage of the year. It is also never too early to start shopping for next year’s Santa Shoebox,” says Nunes.

For additional information visit their website at or email

Justine Fortuin