The Santa Shoebox Project many happy smiles
01 Dec
  • By Brownie Points
  • Cause in

The Santa Shoebox Project – A Festive Way to Give Back

Looking for fun, festive and meaningful ways for your company to give back this season? The Santa Shoebox Project is a sure-fire way to fire-up your employees about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). This week we spoke to COO Debbie Zelezniak about the project’s biggest corporate drives yet, and how your organisation can get involved.

Here’s what she had to say.


The Santa Shoebox Project originated in Cape Town in 2006 with a humble 180 shoeboxes. In 10 years this number has risen to a staggering 652 180 shoeboxes donated in 2016!

“The success of the Project can largely be attributed to its personal nature – donors give gifts to children whose names, ages and genders are known.”

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.

This year, Nedbank CIB (Corporate Investment Banking) made the single biggest Drop Off in the 11-year history of the Project – that being 2700 Shoeboxes! These were actually custom-printed rectangular plastic tubs with handles, dropped off at our inaugural Gauteng Flagship in Randburg. Several other companies pledged a few hundred Shoeboxes each, including ABSA, Bowmans Attorneys, several Remax branches around the country, PEP Stores and Woolworths.

In February each year we start building the teams around the country and in Namibia which will see the campaign through to fruition. This is when we recruit volunteers with an hour or two to spare each week. February is a good time to start the annual Santa Shoebox drive within your organisation – spreading the load of buying all 8 required items later in the year. So, for example, by calling for toothbrushes in March, toothpaste in April … and so on.

Shoebox pledging opens each year on 01 September, at which time the names of the children living within your area are made available. Come the end of October, when drop offs open, we require 100s of additional ad hoc volunteers to assist with the processing of 110 000 + Shoeboxes. This is a great way of getting your CSI / community service hours!

All too often South Africans feel disheartened and disempowered by the magnitude of need we face on a daily basis; how do we help, without feeling completely overwhelmed? The Santa Shoebox Project is certainly one way! Realising how profound an impact a simple bar of soap or tube of toothpaste can have on the life of an impoverished child, was life changing for me.

We’re aiming to have reached one million children by 2019! An important element of the ethos behind the Project is teaching children the joy of giving.

“A Shoebox is designed to spark the belief within every beneficiary child that they have the potential for greatness.”

It’s more than just a Shoebox – it’s the promise of good personal hygiene, of a solid education and of self worth.


Keen to get your company’s contributions in? Contact our friendly folk at Brownie Points to discover how to get involved in this awesome CSR project and find out about many more!


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