I decided this year to volunteer at the Santa Shoebox Celebration Days – it’s the days that the boxes are handed out to the children at the centers/schools/educares who had registered to take part.
It was far outside my comfort zone. The idea of entering a room with dozens of people that I did not know would create a large degree of stress and panic, and a good dose of social paranoia.
I mentioned in a previous post that Santa Shoebox is an unbelievable initiative – the awesome and unbelievable behind the scenes work of the mostly-volunteers – and it is.
Every time I find out more or meet someone else who is involved I am amazed at what they do – these are always people who have busy lives, work, juggle kids, and somehow in all of this find time to volunteer or give a little of their time and energy to this project.
The logistical planning, adjusting, finding new boxes, getting the right boxes to the right centers on time is quite awe inspiring.
The centers register quite some time back (I think in June) and submit their names. Between then and the Celebration Day children leave the center, or join the center and there is often quite a lot of checking, rechecking and running around to obtain more boxes.
Today’s center was in Elsies River and there were 72 children – by far the biggest celebration day I have ever taken part in.
There was no way I could do the Celebration Days without the motley crew of wonderful people who jumped in to help – Judith Cross, Sue Biller, Juanita Sharon Africa, Caroline Rolo, Thelma and her mom.
Cindy Erasmus came along to today’s Celebration and brought along a cake donated by Shoprite that was big enough for 100 people!
Thanks to the all the Santa Shoebox Organisers, co-ordinators, donors, suppliers and volunteers – and the thousands of people who donated wonderful boxes and items to be handed out, and who work tireless on this Project all year long.
It is an unbelievable initiative.
Watching the children when they receive their boxes is a very humbling and moving experience. Knowing that each box handed out and opened by a child, was specifically made for that child by a special person, family or maybe even another child was unforgettable.
If you didn’t donate a box this year – or building a box is not something you can do – consider purchasing stationery, tennis balls, cars, children’s clothing on sale after Xmas or when ever – purchase items on sale – anything that can go into the boxes for next year, keep them in a bag, and donate this on to Santa Shoebox Project for 2014.
Every item is used, and often “emergency boxes” need to be packed and provided at the last moment.
Random images from the various Celebration Days:
Pop along to their Facebook page to see if there is a center in your area that still needs some help: https://www.facebook.com/SantaShoebox
Or visit their home page to get some ideas of how you can take part: http://www.santashoebox.co.za/