My mom was the first person in our family to hear about Operation Shoebox and when one day her work commitments stopped her from attending an event, I went in her place.
That was in 2010. And I’m still here.
This will be the third Christmas I do this. I don’t know what I’m most excited for. Being surrounded by literally thousands of brightly wrapped boxes, living out every kid’s dream of standing in Santa’s workshop. Or seeing the faces of the children who’ll be getting those boxes.
The absolute joy and excitement, the wonder when they pull the lid off and find a brand new summer dress in their favourite colour. Or a soccer ball with a little pump.
I remember one little boy (in fact he was at the creche that we visited in the photo above) was so in awe of his box he didn’t want to open it. He humoured me a bit, good manners on that kid. He let me roll his toy truck up and down a bit and he showed me his new Ben10 t-shirt. Proudly, with a broad grin on his shy little face. Then he packed it all up neatly again, tied the ribbon back in place and sat there hugging his box to his chest. Never letting go.
I am not a religious person. I have no strong feelings about Christmas, other than an opportunity to have fun with my family. For me, the real joy in Christmas is bringing happiness to someone who’s understanding of happiness is so different to mine.
To quote my mother, wise woman that she is, we may not be able to change a child’s life but we can change the way they experience it.
Don’t do this for me. Although you know it’ll make me happy. Do it for them. Hell, do it for yourself. The feeling of accomplishment and contentment is indescribable.
I’ve already adopted two kids for this year. Two tween girls, Tamryn and Simone. My head is swimming with ideas of what to fill their boxes with!
Adopting a kid is the easiest thing on earth. Just visit our website at www.operationshoebox.co.za and follow the hot pink button on the left of your screen which says “Register for a box”. Any and ALL information you could possibly need is on the website and you can ask me too :)
A Shoebox needs to be just that. A shoebox. Or a flat box of a similar size. We recommend about R250 to a box. Fill it clothes, toys, stationery. Toiletries of their own that they don’t need to share. A few sweets for a treat, something cool they can show off to their friends. Things they can call their own.
This will be fun, trust me.
The charities on our list are all based in and around Cape Town and all are worthy of your help. These are vulnerable and, in many cases, desperate children. We also ensure that the charities we pick are relatively small and unknown and are not receiving Christmas gifts from elsewhere. These are the children too often overlooked.
If you got this far,