I have decided to take part in the Santa Shoebox Project this year. I went to the website and selected two children per person in our family – the result is 10 boxes.
I should have done less, as 10 is quite a lot of boxes, and if you average out R150.00 – R200.00 a box it is a bit of coughing at your credit card statement.
I selected two boys in the 10 - 12 year old range – partly because I felt that boys in that age range might not be as appealing as shopping for a 3 year old girl. I also tried to pick children in the same age range as my kids. Technically these are Connor’s boxes ….. presently he has no idea we are doing Santa Shoebox, so you can see how involved I have managed to get the family.
Granted, I have not told them, that might be the first problem – but I am a bit of a procrastinator and will spring in to action on the day I am meant to drop these boxes off.
I bought the boys playing cards as “toys” – no idea what else I could buy for a 10 – 12 year old that wasn’t a computer. I also bought them a pack of underpants each and AXE deodorant as extra – I kept trying to bear in mind that the contents of these boxes really needs to be “fun” but realistically useful, and what do they need after the “joy of Xmas” has passed. Underpants and deodorant seems like a logical gift that keeps on giving.
I bought all the kids a stationery pack which has pencils, pair of scissors, pencils, ruler, eraser etc – the same multi packs I buy for my kids. For the older boys I also bought a big pack of “bic pens” – and I will add a reading book each as well to their boxes.
Kennith has helped out and has got 10 good sized shoe boxes. He has also bought some great things from Cape Union Mart to add, like beanies, little LCD torches, sporks (hey makes sense!!) and so on. Really nice things for each child.
Today I went shopping to purchase the toiletries, stationery, sweets, toys and the last of the things so that I could sit this weekend and pack these boxes.
I really struggled to find a toys for the children that fitted in to the shoeboxes and weren’t crap. I really did not want to put things in that would not last to the next day. I found a good variety, but at some point I needed to stop myself and say “you cannot buy everything, stick to the list …. or you are never going to stop!!”
The bags are lying at the door, with the pile of boxes, and the wrapping paper and stickers I bought to decorate the boxes.
The problem is that shopping today made me feel pretty bleak and sad for these kids. I kept thinking to myself “what if this shoe box is the only gift this child gets this year?” and I just felt sad, and sort of tearful in the Checkers underwear aisle.
There is nothing I can put into a shoebox that is going to make a long term change to these kids lives – and then I think of my kids who get pretty much anything they want at the drop of a hat, and that just makes me feel worse for the 10 kids names that I am holding.
I had these visions of putting a letter in for each child. Telling them that they are loved, and that even though today might look a bit bleak, life does go on. People do make something of themselves no matter how crap their backgrounds. There are more kind and generous people in the world than mean ones. But then I decided that might sound a bit twee, so I canned that idea.
I kept thinking about these 10 boxes I was stocking. “My” kids are : Thaimile (Boy 6); Wilmie (Girl 6); Kamva (Boy 11); Andile Lubabalo (Boy 12); Jayden C (Boy 4); Anelisa (Girl 4); Sammy Joe (Girl 9); Sange (Girl 6); Kayra (Girl 6); Nicolas (Boy 5).
I think the Santa Shoebox Project was aiming to get 100 000 boxes to 100 000 children. That means 100 000 children whose only gift this year will be one of these shoe boxes – and what about all those kids who did not make the list? What are those kids getting?
I know I should be feeling all Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya about taking part in this campaign, but to be honest it really has made me feel terribly sad today!
Otherwise, how are your Santa Shoeboxes coming on?