The Shoe Box Appeals are still one of the best ways to give to those less fortunate around Christmas Time. Whilst at this time of year many of us will be without families, opening presents and eating food, many people won’t have that joy this Christmas.
Back in School, I remember the Shoe Box Appeal being run every year around Christmas. They were usually for the homeless and the items encouraged to be donated ranged from non-perishable food to warm clothing like hats and gloves. There was also a big push to have women’s sanitary products donated too as these were often overlooked. The items would then be put into shoe boxes as care packages which students would then wrap with Christmas paper. The appeal was big in primary school but seeing all the boxes ready to be donated whilst I was in secondary school was a sight. It was a great way to support those in less fortunate situations and also teach students about the importance of charity whilst also promoting a community spirit.
Not being in school anymore I haven’t seen a shoebox appeal for a while so I googled to see what appeals are around. Many have already concluded accepting donations as we are now so close to Christmas. This is to allow for the logistical side to take place like sorting out the boxes and delivering them to the right places. There are many different appeals too. One of the largest ones by ‘Action for Children’ focuses on children here in the UK. No child should wake up on Christmas without a present yet, even in the UK, many will. Instead of donating items like in a traditional shoe box appeal, the charity has different price points for different items to be donated. For example, £5 will buy a teddy bear to comfort a child, £25 will buy a Christmas present and £150 will buy a bed and a warm duvet.
As with everything else in the modern world, Shoe Box appeals have had to evolve with the times. Whereas before the idea was to bring gifts into schools and community centres, many now ask for donations over the internet. One quite ingenious idea I’ve seen is using Amazon wish lists. This allows the person donating to know exactly what they are donating whilst also allowing the charity to ensure what is being donated will be useful.
Shoe Box Appeals stand as a timeless gesture of compassion and solidarity, echoing the spirit of giving during the holiday season. From the nostalgic memories in school, wrapping boxes with warmth and care, to the evolving landscape of online contributions, these initiatives continue to bridge the gap between those with plenty and those in need. While their evolution reflects the changing times, it's crucial to acknowledge and address the concerns surrounding some appeals, emphasising transparency and inclusivity. Amidst these considerations, the essence of generosity and support remains at the heart of these efforts, reminding us of the profound impact of kindness in uplifting communities and spreading joy during the festive season.