Santa Shoebox spreads cheer

Pupils at Little Stars Educare, in Eastridge, say thank you for their gift boxes.

More than 450 Mitchell’s Plain children opened boxes filled with colour, joy and love which were brought to them as part of the annual Santa Shoebox campaign.

The last leg of the year-long campaign involves the distribution of gift boxes, which include a toy, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, wash cloth, an outfit of clothing, educational supplies and sweets.

In Mitchell’s Plain, the boxes were handed out at 20 facilities, including educares and church Sunday schools.

It took Santa Shoebox volunteers three days to deliver boxes to 457 children, aged between 3 and 16.

Santa Shoebox elf Surelda Witbooi handed 135 boxes to pupils at Jenny Morris Educare, in Lentegeur, on Thursday November 16, and at Little Stars Educare, in Eastridge, on Wednesday November 22.

She had planned to do one delivery last Wednesday, knowing that the creche would have prepared an item of thanks, which came in the form of a play.

“There are no words to describe the joy and appreciation on the children’s faces,” she said.

The story centred on a shoemaker who did good deeds and gave gifts but never realised how recipients of his good deeds and gifts valued his contribution. The pupils wished all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year with a song before receiving their gifts.

The Santa Shoebox calendar starts in February every year when teams gather in preparation for centres to apply online to be beneficiaries by April; applications are assessed in May; in June children’s names, gender, age and clothing size is loaded online; pledge lines open September 1; boxes are dropped off by the end of October; and boxes distributed by the end of November before pupils or children go off to enjoy the holidays, the following month. For more information, call Santa Shoebox on 076 491 2407.