When a shoebox creates a magical Christmas
Drumroll, please. In 2016, the Santa Shoebox (SSB) project managed to raise an astounding 100,201 shoeboxes for underprivileged children throughout South Africa and Namibia in 2016.
This was an incredible initiative to be part of. Kishugu employees from Nelspruit and Cape Town joined the nationwide drive to contribute as many shoeboxes as possible. In total, over 78 shoeboxes and five virtual shoeboxes were received from Kishugu staff, friends and family.
On 09 November 2016, Kishugu employees also pledged their time when they gladly reported for duty to volunteer at the drop off centre’s in their respective cities.
Erika Jacobi, FireWise Programme Training Coordinator in Cape Town was part of a team of Kishugu employees who assisted SSB members in receiving, labeling and sorting hundreds of shoeboxes to be delivered to the lucky children. “We were a part of the biggest Cape Town drop-off point at the CTICC. We were in time to watch the opening of this years event and it was magical. There were boxes lining every wall and they just kept coming in. The Christmas spirit filled each person there and it brought so much joy to all of us doing our bit in assisting this great project,” Erika explained.
Kishugu Non Profit Company (NPC) crèches also received amazing support from its partner, DCB, who sponsored the transport of 757 shoeboxes which filled 115 cartons from Cape Town to Matatiele, an astonishing 1,385 km covered to deliver shoeboxes to 10 of FireWise’s crèches and seven non-Kishugu creches, also in the project area
Kishugu employees then joined the excitement as they assisted in delivering the hundreds of shoeboxes to various crèches and orphanages.
“Seeing these beautiful children’s faces, alight with joy, makes one realise just how much these shoeboxes mean to them. One could sense the gratification they felt, especially when they heard their names being called out to come forward to collect their Christmas shoeboxes,” says Lauren Renaud, Nelspruit Santa Shoebox Coordinator, who gladly accepted volunteers from Kishugu to assist with the drop off and delivery day.
“This year showed us that there were more people and companies that were willing to be part of this project than we could ever have hoped for. Next year we will definitely partner with companies such as Kishugu and grow the Nelspruit drop off to at least double its size,” Lauren concluded.
Delivery day at the Phumulani Orphanage outside Nelspruit, particularly touched the hearts of Kishugu employees.
“The whole experience was an emotional, joyous and deeply moving one for me. I found great gratification in sharing the joy little kids felt as they each received their carefully thought-out and put-together shoeboxes,” said Lucie Kapena, Aircraft Maintenance Technician at Kishugu Aviation Maintenance Organisation (AMO), she continued, “I would definitely love to join in again next year, and would encourage even more people to get involved.”
For many of these children, the Santa Shoeboxes would be the only gifts they would receive this Christmas. Some keep the actual boxes for the entire year, because they cherish them so much. Due to the overwhelming response received, Kishugu plans to again become involved in this campaign in 2017. By working with other affiliates, Kishugu will assist to identify more disadvantaged crèches and centres to become registered recipients of Santa Shoeboxes next year, and in turn make a difference in the lives of so many children.