The Santa Shoebox Project originated in Cape Town in 2006 with a humble 180 shoeboxes. In 14 years it has grown in leaps and bounds, with the number of Santa Shoeboxes donated reaching a total of 858 673. The shoeboxes are distributed to more than 1000 recipient facilities each year, through more than 60 satellites around South Africa and Namibia.
The success of the Project can largely be attributed to its personal nature – donors give gifts of essential items and treats to children whose names, ages and genders are known. The minimum 8 required items are a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, a wash cloth, sweets, a toy, school supplies and an outfit of clothing – all new, unused and age-appropriate.
The project is supported by an extensive network of volunteers across South Africa and Namibia – kind-hearted people who give freely of their time, energy and expertise without remuneration. It also relies on the generous backing of various corporate sponsors pledging monetary or pro bono support. Many companies, involving their staff members pledge Santa Shoeboxes as part of their Corporate Social Investment programmes.