Thursday, 7 November 2013

Has the Santa Shoebox ended yet?

It's been over a month since I last blogged and guess what it was about? Santa Shoebox that's what.

Since I returned from the UK late September all I've done is Santa Shoebox, it's been a full time job and I've loved every minute of it.

The 3 drop off days passed in a blur as we ran between 2 centres managing over 8000 boxes donated from the public. Each and every boxed was checked to ensure all liquids were zip locked and a PEP carrier bag was added. I lost count of the number of times I said 'Don't forget to include a PEP bag, they are our main sponsors'

Every box was then scanned and packed into cartons according to facility delivery dates and then collected by Laser Logistics and stored in a Warehouse in Johannesburg until delivery.

My house has been full of boxes and supplies for the past month. We received endless second hand donations on top of all the boxes and fillers, which have all found a new home. The extra sweets, biscuits and chips donated will be used for Celebration days and any additional items will be stored for next year.

This is my third year with Santa Shoebox. Click here to find out more about them. In total the whole of South Africa received 117020 but you'll see from the website that 119163 boxes were pledged. A shortfall of 2143 boxes.

In Pretoria we made an additional 250 boxes to ensure a whole facility didn't miss out, then we volunteered to help a drop off in Jo'burg with another 250 boxes. A donation from Monte Casino started us off and a plea on the SSB face book page yielded the rest of the donations. A team of volunteers have been working from my garage, packing stationery, sweets, toys and I've been receiving donations at the house for over a week now and tonight we pack and wrap the missing boxes, which then have to be allocated to the individual facilities. A mammoth job when you consider that Gauteng collected over 51,000 boxes over a week which are all stored in a warehouse.

The celebration days start soon. I'm afraid they're won't be many photo's due to safety issues protecting the many vulnerable children, but if you like the Santa shoebox face book page and Kungwini Welfare Organisation on twitter and face book where I update, you'll be able to see some of the children receiving their boxes this year.

The Santa shoebox Pretoria team gathers at mine in a few weeks with partners and kids for a braai, a few drinks and a chance to catch up on our success this year. We take a break in December and January before starting the whole process again in February, when the whole Santa Shoebox process starts again. Confirming/finding a venue for drop off days. Visiting facilities, finding new facilities, vetting that they qualify to receive. collating names and age lists, managing the process

1st comes gathering all of last years left over donations and shopping for boxes for family and friends in the UK.

Two weeks before drop off donors are sought, boxes are wrapped and we try to get the pledges. Keeping faith that that 2000 donors will come forward and pledge a box.

Training to volunteers is delivered and drop off starts.

But it doesn't stop there, there is all this to clean up, store, make 'magic boxes' for additional children that turn up, plus all the boxes not pledged and no shows to pack.

This is my 3rd year with SSB and I've loved every minute of it. Keep popping back here to see some Celebration photos.

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