Spreading the festive cheer with Santa Shoebox

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13 December 2022
We’re committed to making a positive impact in the lives of our communities through Staff Helping SA OUT (SHSAO), a staff-driven project where staff members get to nominate projects of their own, and where they are given the opportunity to contribute by means of a monthly financial contribution or by volunteering their time at various non-profit organisations throughout South Africa.

Once again, we went all out to support Santa Shoebox, a very special initiative that has become an annual tradition for OUTsurance staff members.  

About Santa Shoebox

Santa Shoebox was started in 2006 and since then, they have distributed more than 1 152 587 boxes of personalised essential items to underprivileged children across South Africa. These boxes are donated to over 1000 recipient facilities around South Africa and Namibia.

This initiative is supported by a network of volunteers who donate a minimum of eight items, all new, unused and age-appropriate. The traditional Santa Shoebox includes an item of clothing, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a facecloth, soap, educational supplies, sweets, and a toy.

A virtual shoebox is sponsored by a member of the public or an organisation where a box is made up by a Santa Shoebox volunteer from where it’s sent to the distribution facility.

The Santa Shoebox Legacy project brings permanent change to the lives of underprivileged children by transforming existing Early Childhood Development Centres in rural areas. This project focuses on infrastructure and Department of Basic Education (DBE) teacher training, early literacy and water solutions.

Santa Shoebox relies on various corporate organisations like OUTsurance, who pledge monetary or pro bono support as part of their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programmes.

Mariske Keyter, SHSAO Project Coordinator comments, ‘In supporting Santa Shoebox, we believe that in addition to providing these children with much-needed school supplies and stationery, we are confirming to them that they are seen and loved and that we believe that they are capable of great things.’

‘A highlight in the SHSAO calendar’

Keyter adds that ‘this initiative provides staff members with the perfect opportunity to give back. In 2008, we incorporated this initiative into our CSI programme for the first time, and since then, staff involvement has grown exponentially.

‘Each and every box has been packed with the utmost love and care. It’s heart-warming to see staff members go the extra mile, with some “adopting” more than one box – and getting their whole family involved, with others really outdoing themselves by including extra spoils and quality items that they know will stand the test of time. ‘What made this year extra special, was the fact that we encouraged to add duplicate items to our boxes so that beneficiaries could “pay it forward” and share items with someone else.’

After collecting all of the pre-packed Santa Shoeboxes, OUTsurance volunteers hand-delivered these to the allocated warehouse in Pretoria and assisted the organisers to check and review the content of the boxes to ensure that all the items on the provided list were included.

Keyter concludes by saying, ‘If you’ve been part of an initiative such as Staff Helping OUT for as long as I have, you realise how much you have to be thankful for. Even a small monthly contribution, can make a big difference.’

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