Christmas is not far away and once again, commercial vehicles will be used in many cases to bring cheer to many around the country. The first one to cross our desk is the Santa Shoebox project where thousands of children at orphanages, homes and under-privileged schools around the country will be receiving a gift with the special delivery guaranteed by the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).
For the second year running, Ford will be teaming up with the Santa Shoebox project to bring Christmas cheer to needy children during the festive season. Each child will receive a present specially packed for them. For many it will be the only present they receive.
Ford decided to put its commercial vehicles to good use by assisting the Santa Shoebox project in delivering over 100 000 gifts to children in need in Cape Town and Gauteng. Last year the two Ford Transits used in this good cause covered 7 911km, helping to deliver more than 110 000 boxes. This year the job is expected to be even bigger.
The Transit Van and Transit Custom, both powered by Ford’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, have a combined load volume of 15m³ providing enough room to accommodate more than 1 400 shoeboxes at a time.
The success of the Santa Shoebox project is attributed to the personal nature of the giving. Each donated present is addressed to a particular child – their first name, age and gender made known to the giver.
Each gift contains a toothbrush, toothpaste, a facecloth, soap, an outfit of clothing, education supplies, a toy and some sweets. The goods are packed into a shoebox, which is then wrapped and labelled for the recipient. Delivery of the colourful loads is then co-ordinated by the organisers and carried out by Ford.
“We are grateful to Ford for their continued support in making a difference in the lives of children, especially those living in desolate rural communities. That is really what the Santa Shoebox Project is all about,” says Santa Shoebox national project co-ordinator, Irené Pieters.
The Santa Shoebox Project originated in Cape Town and has grown in leaps and bounds, with the number of Santa Shoeboxes growing from a humble 180 boxes in 2006 to an astounding 109 930 in 2014.
The boxes are distributed to more than 1 000 recipient facilities, through more than 60 satellites around South Africa and Namibia. A Virtual Shoebox option was introduced in 2014 allowing out-of-town and international donors to support the project and the SSB Legacy, a skills development training programme introduced for caregivers at the more than 1 000 Santa Shoebox recipient centres.
Ford fans and fans of the Santa Shoebox initiative can follow the festivities by using the hashtag #PresentsinTransit. For more information on the initiative or to get involved visit www.santashoebox.co.za