THE Santa Shoe Box Project is expanding to rural areas and hopes to bring lots of smiles to children in need by donating 100000 gift boxes – 30000 more than last year.
The project is expanding in the Eastern Cape to smaller communities, increasing its target from 2000 to 3000.
The non-profit organisation asks people to decorate and wrap boxes filled with Christmas goodies such as clothes, educational toys and toiletries.
"We absolutely could not have done a project like this without the public. After all the articles published by The Herald my phone has been ringing nonstop," Port Elizabeth project manager Kim Keen said.
This year the outreach would stretch to new towns such as Despatch and Adelaide.
"The project has not changed a lot since last year but people want to help and can relate.
"It is so humbling seeing the faces of the children when they receive their boxes. And its such a joy for them to know that someone actually cares."
The project has been running for six years with 70000 children throughout the country having received boxes last year.
National coordinator Irene Pieters said this year's aim of donating 100000 boxes was a "huge target".
With the dream that every disadvantaged child should have a shoe box, the project has already collected a little over 53000.
"We made a decision to expand to rural facilities and not just the city.
"After donating to 37 branches (drop-off places) including schools, children's homes and any places of safety, this year we are fortunate enough to expand to 50 branches.
"In the Eastern Cape, Laser Logistic will deliver to kids living in Jeffreys Bay, East London, Knysna, and we've even included George for the first time this year," Pieters said.
Distribution starts early in November.
But children from rural communities and children's homes will receive theirs on Christmas Day.
- For further information contact Kim Keen on (041) 581-4268, 078-966-0856, or go to:www.santashoebox.co.za.