Santa Shoebox Project: A pledge is a promise

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@santashoebox #PledgeIsAPromise #Charity #Giving

Every year the teams at SSB drop-offs around South Africa are faced with one big problem. So called ‘no shows’. ‘No shows’ are pledged boxes that are never delivered.

You cannot believe the work that teams have to do just to get a drop-off up and running, not to mention doing marketing, sourcing donors, checking boxes, coordinating bulk pledges, ensuring that there are enough ‘fillers’, managing time schedules for volunteers, coordinating transport of cartons and planning celebrations. (Fillers are the compulsory items which are often forgotten by our enthusiastic donors. During ‘box checking’ these items are added to the boxes). Fortunately our magnificent teams have all this down to a science and things usually run very smoothly.

Unfortunately, we always have to deal with ‘no shows’. I want you to consider this for a minute: imagine you are promised something and you look forward to receiving it for months, only to realize that you are not going to get it after all. Every year we are faced with that problem. How do you tell an innocent child that the promised gift will not be delivered, because a donor couldn’t manage to make good on his promise to pack a box? It is simply not possible. That is why it is the team’s responsibility to ensure that every child on the pledged list get a box. We pack boxes ourselves and use our ‘fillers’ to do so. You may think that it is just one or two boxes, you are SO wrong. Sometimes it is hundreds of boxes.

So, while I am encouraging you to become part of the phenomena that is Santa Shoebox, to do your little bit by pledging a box, I also beg of you to make good on that pledge. A pledge is a promise. Not to us, but to a child. A child that has never received a Christmas gift in his life. We work closely with facilities like daycare centres and orphanages to plan their Santa Shoebox gifts. It is not as if it will be a huge surprise to them, they are expecting to receive boxes. The beneficiary facilities usually help plan celebration days and these events become the highlight of the year. The children are prepared well in advance for this spectacular day and are sometimes even part of it by performing dances or singing. Can you imagine the disappointment if we have to cancel it all because the boxes were ‘no shows’?

If you think you will NOT be able to fill a box with the necessary items, then you should not pledge one. You can still bring joy to the children by volunteering your services or donating ‘fillers’ if you can afford it. I know that times are tough. The economy is in a downward spiral and few people have the financial resources to give to charity. Some people may even feel that they need some charity themselves! Just, please, do not make a promise you cannot keep.

As I mentioned, you can still be involved without spending money. Volunteer to help at drop-off or join the team when they hand out the gifts during celebrations. No one will think less of you if you just volunteer, you are, after all, still giving. You are giving your time to bring joy to others.

REMEMBER: you don’t have to fill the box to the brim. While we do appreciate it and the children are, of course, thrilled by all the lovely items inside, the compulsory items will suffice.

These items are:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap and facecloth
  • Sweets
  • Educational supplies
  • Toys
  • Clothes

For those of you who pack boxes and drop it off on time, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To the children you are angels from heaven, bringing brightness to their dull lives. You are doing something that the child will remember forever.

You are indeed making a difference.

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch by completing the contact form below.

If you would like to pledge a box or volunteer now, please visit http://www.santashoebox.org.za and register online.

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