Santa Shoebox Pretoria North officially closed


Team SSB: Pretoria says thank you!!


Laser boxes stacked and packed....finally!

Thobeka drops her box

It is done………months of planning and fretting was worth it and we closed up shop around 21:00 yesterday. While I’m still awaiting the final word on the results of our two drop-offs it was, in my opinion, a raging success. Yes, we used language never before used in a church hall, yes we frowned and shouted and jumped up and down in frustration, yes we had the occasional acid comment, but we made it and it was FUN!! (Said frustration mostly to do with crashing computer systems, hunger, thirst and absolute weariness – 15 hours per day for 9 days will do that to you.) I’ll keep you posted on the final results, so keep your eyes peeled!!

In the meantime I would love to share a few stories………

A man came to drop-off, carrying a bag with 3 boxes wrapped in blue and white polka-dot paper. They were not pledged (he doesn’t have a computer, much less internet access). One could see that this man is, in fact extremely needy himself and I suppose his own children (if he has any) will appreciate a Santa Shoebox of their own. Yet he  and his wife took the time to fill these boxes with items (the correct ones, mind you), mark each box with a label that mentioned the age and gender of the child they packed for and cover it in pretty wrapping paper (in the correct way – lid and box covered separately). The poor man asked for water – he looked parched, so I gave him a glass of nice cool water to drink and, keeping up the conversation started to ask him about his life and how he became interested in giving for Santa Shoebox. He said he heard it somewhere on the radio and thought it was a brilliant idea to share some kindness. He apologized for looking so sweaty and hot, but he walked to Villieria from Pretoria CBD (quite a ways) as the bus didn’t show and he wanted to get at drop-off before closing.

Another story – little Thobeka saw the ”Santa Lady” on the television and told her Mom that she wants to pack a box. They didn’t have all the info and also no internet facilities, so they couldn’t look up the directions to drop-off. On Saturday morning they set off (Thobeka, Mommy and Daddy) and went in search of drop-off. They ended up in Karen Park….on the OTHER side of Pretoria, more than 15km away. They apparently asked around and discovered that Villieria is actually in the Moot area closer to city centre, so the took the bus and some taxi’s until they were close enough (and had barely enough money left to return home) and walked the rest of the way. I was busy taking down our banners when I noticed the threesome coming up the street with their single, pink shoebox. One could see that these people were exhausted from their adventures, but Thobeka was SO excited she smiled from ear to ear when she saw me in my SSB outfit. I asked her why go to all this trouble….her answer? So that someone else can also be happy at Christmas.

In both these cases the donors were obviously NOT well-to-do, in need of some help themselves, yet they managed to find it in their hearts to share the joy of giving.

These are NOT the only stories I have to tell, if I could, I can keep on talking for hours about the wonderful experience of meeting the donors, the people that make it possible for us to do the work we do. However, I think you get the  point…….if these people can give, and understand that giving is a joy in itself, why is it that so many others simply turn the other way, choosing to ignore that giving kindness, sharing some happiness is a way of achieving a level of satisfaction and peace within your own heart that no-one can describe.

Quote on giving


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