Posted 17 December 2019

Ford Helps Deliver Festive Cheer to Santa Shoebox Beneficiaries

QuickPic | December 17, 2019

Ford Helps Deliver Festive Cheer to Santa Shoebox Beneficiaries

  • Ford once again provided mobility to the Santa Shoebox Project for 2019 in the form of two Transit Custom vans
  • The Santa Shoebox Project provides essential items to thousands of children across South Africa and Namibia each year
  • Since 2006, the project has delivered almost 860 000 shoeboxes to poor communities

PRETORIA, South Africa, 17 December 2019 – For many young children, the concept of Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, is typically associated with reindeer pulling a sled across the skies on Christmas Eve, delivering millions of presents in record time to kids across the globe. However, for many youngsters living in impoverished communities in South Africa, there’s usually very little to celebrate at this time of year. Finding presents under a tree is far from their everyday reality when regular meals is the exception, rather than the norm.

Fortunately, the Santa Shoebox Project took up the cause in 2006 to deliver some festive delight to poor communities. Having originated in Cape Town with its first delivery of 148 shoeboxes, over the past 13 years it has grown significantly and has brought smiles to children’s faces far and wide with almost 860 000 Santa Shoeboxes delivered to date.

In place of Santa’s trusted sleigh, the charitable project – which forms part of the Joy of Giving (JOG) Trust – turned to Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) for assistance once again for 2019. The company happily obliged, supplying the Santa Shoebox Project with two Transit Custom vans at the end of September to use for an exceptionally busy 12-week period as the gifts – which are all donated to the organisation – were collected and ultimately delivered to more than 1 000 recipient facilities through 60 satellites in South Africa and Namibia.

“The Santa Shoebox Project could never do or achieve what we do without the kind support of Ford and the use of the two Transit vans,” says Margie Kostelac, who heads up the project. “These vehicles form an integral part of our daily work, without which thousands of children would never receive a gift.

“Since receiving these vehicles on 30 September we have covered almost 8 000km, and we still have our final special delivery to do for children in Winterton, KwaZulu-Natal, on 12 December,” she adds. “The Transit vans have worked long and hard every day, and have been a huge asset to Santa Shoebox. They have been extremely practical due to the huge and easily accessible load areas, while being very comfortable on the long drives, and impressively economical too!”

According to Kostelac, the success of the project can largely be attributed to its personal nature, as donors provide gifts of essential items and treats to children whose names, ages and genders are known. Far from the expensive gadgets many privileged children dream of, the organisation supplies basic items to those who simply cannot afford them, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, a wash cloth, sweets, a toy, school supplies and an outfit of clothing – all new, unused and age-appropriate.

The project is supported by an extensive network of volunteers across South Africa and Namibia – kind-hearted people who give freely of their time, energy and expertise without remuneration. It also relies on the generous backing of various corporate sponsors pledging monetary or pro bono support. Many companies and their staff members pledge Santa Shoeboxes as part of their corporate social investment programmes.

The very first job for the spacious Ford Transits was the collection of a large donation of Lego and transferring it to organisation’s Randburg drop-off site. These trusty steeds have since been all over the country, travelling far and wide to Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, Limpopo and Mpumalanga – the latter two provinces specifically as part of the Santa Shoebox Project rural outreach where there is limited donor capacity to facilitate the process.

“Our vision at the JOG Trust is that of connecting people through the central message of ‘The Joy of Giving’, not only of the material goods or financial resources, but also of time, skills, knowledge, patience and love,” Kostelac states. “Thank you Ford South Africa for making this possible!”

Original article and image as supplied by QuickPic