Taking part in the Santa’s shoebox charity drive is one of the most rewarding annual activities we do as a family.
The santa’s shoebox charity collects donated boxes of essentials and treats for over 100 000 underprivileged babies, children and teens across South Africa. They are super organised and very careful that each child gets the basics, plus some extra treasures each year. The drive starts in September and drop-off dates are set for late October so that the boxes can be shipped to the hundreds of places they need to go.
What is great is that you can choose your recipient by age and name. You don’t get to meet them or see them receive the box, but there are a few things you can be certain of: That a child with almost nothing experiences – the excitement of Christmas a privileged child takes for granted; the fun of opening a box from a mystery person and exploring the treasures inside; and the satisfaction of getting new clothes, eating the sweets, having the school supplies, perhaps even owning a toothbrush for the very first time.
In their newsletter, the SSB team mentioned that teenage boys were the last to be chosen every year, so when I went to register I picked a 15-year-old boy. This was easy – last year I chose a teenage girl so my girls could help and get involved, this year it was my son’s turn to help out with the shopping. The best laid plans (sigh)!
The day we went shopping turned out to be a caveman day – you know, the one where your previously lovely son turns into a knuckle dragging Neanderthal whose entire vocabulary consists of grunts. Ogg and I had a few one-sided conversations about choice of clothing:
Ogg: Grunt (shows me an Angry Birds t-shirt he thinks is cool)
Me: Do you think a computer game t-shirt is going to be viewed as cool by a kid who doesn’t own a computer?
Ogg: grunty grunt grunt (I think it was “I dunno”, I’m not fluent in Neanderthal)
And so it went on..
I managed to complete the shopping without murdering Ogg, and Ogg managed to walk upright (ish) and not break anything, so it’s all good. And he did go spelunking in the cave he calls home and found a shoebox for the project.
When it comes to covering the shoebox, people either just use Christmas wrapping paper or they go overboard with scrapbooking paraphernalia. I decided on a (very crude) cartoon strip story of how none of the inhabitants of the North Pole had suitable shoe boxes (lets face it they all wear odd shoes) and with the help of a nerdy elf and technology, how the box was filled by a teenage boy.
Here is the story as it progresses around the box.
Next year I plan to be truthful and do a story of how a caveteen was dragged around the mall.