My Santa Shoebox Experience

I did mention it earlier that I had volunteered to help out at my local drop off centre for the Santa Shoebox Project.

It was a really fun 3 days and I have huge respect for the ladies who organised this event. Our drop off centre ran like a well oiled machine. Every things we, as volunteers, needed to know was clearly marked and displayed.

I spent my 3 shifts checking the boxes. How it worked was boxes came in, they names get crossed off at check in, they then come to us to check them, then get packed into boxes for the respective facilities. From the school they went go to a warehouse and then to the facilities.

Each box gets checked to ensure that all the items are in fact there, that the clothes are the right size, the sweets and stationery are age appropriate. If the boxes are damaged or too big then we have to swop them for other boxes. NOTHING gets removed from the box unless it is inappropriate/not allowed and even then it is swopped out – so if you put 10 items in the child receives 10 items. The check list really made it a lot easier for those buying boxes and for the most part there was very little swopping out – mainly suckers swopped out for sweets more suitable for under 5s and the clothes for the teenagers were often way too big.

I went back yesterday evening with Kiara to help with the last checking that needed to be done and I am glad I took her along so she could understand it all a little better and also be a part of the process.

I know a lot of you work but next year if possible get your department involved and even if you each donate an hour of your time it will go a long way in helping.


  1. Ankia says

    I love the whole Santa Shoebox idea and it was so much fun putting the boxes together. Will definitely do it again next year and make a plan to help out at the drop-off too. Remind me Laura 😉

  2. says

    It was SUCH fun this year again! Next year I’m doing 5 (I’ve already decided) and I need to make sure I have R1000 ready for those boxes.

    And of course I will annoy everyone around me by badgering them to do a box too :)

    So I bought size 32 for the 12-year-olds but made sure the pants were slim fit and had elastic in the back to help… I must say the selection of clothes for 12-year-olds was terrible. I shopped at 3 stores in total because I had to make sets of clothes! Only after I assembled my boxes (and cut off price tags) did I see really nice dresses for tweens at Ackermans. About R60 – R70 each.

    Oh well!

  3. Rene says

    It was my first time that I did it, and I made two boxes, and I really enjoyed it. Loved buying the things, and making up the boxes, and my 4 year old helped (the 1 year old also helped to unpack the boxes multiple times). From now on it’s a yearly institution.

  4. says

    I would love to get involved in the drop off and will definately try for next year. Our drop off in el didn’t seem to be running at all – it was an office and there were about a million boxes sky high – no name checking or anything? Obviously East London is much smaller that Pretoria so that’s prob why.

    I love this initiative and am already shopping for next year!

    I just feel it is so important for our children to realise just how fortunate they are and not to take their clothes/toys and treats for granted.

  5. says

    When I went to drop off my boxes I really wish I had volunteered (even if for a few hours), would find more ways to get involved next year. The Jhb North drop-off point was also working like a well oiled machine (lots of precision). Plus it also gladdened my heart to see many people coming to drop off too and most with multiple boxes

  6. says

    This Santa’s shoebox project runs like a well oiled machine! I am very impressed with you going to help out – I would like to do that too next year if I can.

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