Santa Shoebox
Millionth beneficiary, 7-year old Iyanda, holding the millionth Book Dash book to be printed, with Santa Shoebox Project Founder, Irené Pieters

If you are a regular Santa Shoebox pledger, you know starting early is the key to getting your box or boxes perfected; this is the 2021 action plan.


South Africa (02 February 2021) – You can start preparing for your Santa Shoebox pledges this March. This way of collecting items is great if you want to pledge more boxes this year.

The Santa Shoebox Project was started in 2006 with only 180 boxes being handed out. Since then, the charity has touched the lives of over 1 017 741 underprivileged children throughout South Africa and Namibia.

Everyone gets involved, from corporate businesses to groups of friends and individuals. Everyone who gets involved makes an incredible effort to give the very best boxes. Take, for example, last year; a young man was also gifted driving lessons as part of his box. The gesture brought everyone to tears!

“When a donor pledges a Santa Shoebox, they promise a child the gift of self-worth and fulfilled potential. These are so much more than “just” a shoebox; each donor fills a decorated shoebox with 8 required items – a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and a facecloth, school supplies, a toy, sweets and an outfit of clothing.” – Santa Shoebox Project

Sometimes we wish we could pledge more than one box but it can add up financially. That is why the Santa Shoebox Project came up with an action plan in 2020 where you buy one thing a month to fill your box for September delivery. This way you can invest more in one box or pledge multiple boxes.

All of the following items are required in each box:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Bar of soap
  • Washcloth
  • An outfit of clothing
  • Educational supplies
  • Sweets
  • A toy

This is how the action plan works:


During March, summer clothes start going on sale as the winter ranges come in. Make use of these to buy an outfit for the child you hope to pledge. If you purchase a specific age size, be sure to remember for when you select your pledge so the outfit will fit the child.

Santa Shoebox encourages you to add in a set of underwear with the outfit, making it a complete set. A real treat for a child in need.

Stores like Pep, Ackermans and Jet are great options for affordable outfits.


Dental care is essential so use April to purchase a good quality toothbrush and a big tube of toothpaste. The child you pledge to may only have that one tube for their entire year.

Place these in a reusable bag, or a toiletry bag that they can keep all their hygiene items together.


Adding on to the hygiene pack you started last month, this is the month you purchase a nice facecloth and soap bar. Get a full-size soap bar as it will go a lot further.

If you are pledging to a teen girl, be sure to add a pack of sanitary pads. Remember to place all these items in a reusable bag or toiletry bag so they can keep all their hygiene items together.

Santa Shoebox advises that if you purchase a liquid soap, to seal it in a ziplock bag so it doesn’t accidently leak inside the box.


Educational supplies go a long way to uplifting a child in need. Use this month to spoil them. Calculate what grade they will be entering in the new year (2022) and shop accordingly. Should you have a toddler, crayons and reading books are a great addition, if you are pledging a teen, a school calculator, geometry set and young adult fiction are fantastic additions.

Writing a note, encouraging their academic efforts is a wonderful touch and can be a great source of inspiration.


Sweets and a toy are the final items needed to fill your box. Purchase sweets that will still be fresh come November when the boxes arrive at their pledges, placing them in a ziplock to aid in retaining freshness. The toy should be something age appropriate. Should it require batteries, supply those as well.

Santa Shoebox discourages supplying toys that could cause trauma such as toy guns and knives.


Pick your pledge! This is about the time that pledging opens so select your child and encourage your friends to do the same. If you work in a group it can make a massive impact on many young lives!


Decorate your boxes and remember to stick your pledge label on the box. Write a letter of encouragement, something that they can add to their box as a keepsake.


Go drop off your box or boxes at your drop-off zone. If you can, look at becoming a volunteer for the project. It is an incredibly rewarding thing to do once you have completed your box.

If you would like to know more about the project, you can check out their website here or their Facebook page here. Don’t worry, we will also remind you when pledges start so you can make sure the clothing you bought will fit your pledge.

Sources:  Santa Shoebox – Linked Above
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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