Discover the Shoe Box Project

Discover the Shoe Box Project

South America

What if Santa Claus came in a shoebox? “The ‘Caixa de Sapato' Project represents a unique way for you, your family or a member of your organization to demonstrate that you care about others, by sharing love and hope with needy children across the country.” To tell you a little more about the project, we had a chat with Filipe Portugal, founder of the initiative.

2020 has been difficult for everyone, there's no denying it. It is definitely a year that will be remembered for the rest of our lives. If for us, who understand what we are going through, it is already difficult, for children this period of confinement, without classes and completely changed relationships, can be even worse. Especially at Christmas.

Because of this, the “Caixa de Sapato” Project, which is a project that has existed for 15 years, in 2020 will have a much more special flavor. It will bring these children a little joy, something we all need, right?

“It’s a privilege. It's better to give than receive! During deliveries I always, always get emotional. When a child asks me to read the letters, I simply can't and I start crying and lose my voice. Then I ask for help for one of my children.”

Every year their idea is, at Christmas, to fill shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and treats for children across the country.

“The idea arose in the USA 30 years ago. And when I was on exchange in Massachusetts, I was able to participate. In 2006, I was challenged in a Church course to present a project and that was when the idea of ​​implementing Caixa de Sapato here made perfect sense. Since then, it has been a successful engagement in schools, companies and churches, with the same participation rate as in developed countries”, says Filipe.

A little bit of love and joy in a shoebox. A gesture that seems simple, but makes a big difference. “The shoe box is a standard size and everyone has one. For those who don't have one, I always jokingly say that it's an excellent excuse to buy a pair of shoes! The size is ideal as it fits a lot of things: toys, school supplies, personal hygiene items, a letter and gifts that children love.” Filipe says that, as it is a standard size, it doesn't happen that one child gets a gift and another gets a bag. In addition, everyone can assemble it the way they want (with new items), according to the child's age. “It’s free and easy for everyone!”

children opening Christmas gifts shoe box

Shoebox Project: where every dollar is multiplied by 100

“We need to receive more cash donations to be able to scale the project. With the few cash resources we received, we managed to involve many people to donate boxes. And then we always process these boxes and send them far away, where no one else helps.” It works like this: for every dollar you donate, these donations are transformed into shoe boxes with gifts, school supplies and hygiene items worth up to 100 times their value.

Each year they reach more than 1000 families. They were directly and indirectly responsible for distributing approximately 30 thousand shoe boxes over the last 14 Christmases. “This means that 20 thousand families benefited by receiving the shoe boxes. And another 20,000 families were blessed with the privilege of contributing.”

They choose the locations that will receive donations thinking about regions where few – or almost no – organizations are serving. “These children are in distant regions and are forgotten. We have some renowned partner entities that have great reach and knowledge of the Brazilian territory, which recommend us a good part of the destinations”.

Christmas gifts shoe box

In recent years they have sent donations to destinations more than 1000 km away, on average, precisely where there are few resources and supporting organizations. Among so many deliveries, Filipe says that one stood out: “The first delivery was to the riverside communities of Amazonas. It was very special! Today these children are young adults and probably still remember these little boxes and this gesture of love and encouragement”, he says, proudly.

“We don’t repeat destinations. There are many unserved organizations. We want to reach as many children as possible. We don't want to create expectations or dependence. The idea is to encourage parents so that they can give gifts to their children! The project is about Christmas and we want to tell you about the true meaning of Christmas. And that God has not forgotten these children – and neither have we!”

They have already passed through São José da Tapera-AL, Alto Jequitibá-MG, Delmiro Gouveia-AL, Machacalis-MG, Santa Rita-MA, Goiana-PE, Poço Verde-SE, São Cristóvão-SE, Itabaianinha-SE and Ribeirópolis- IF.

child donation shoe box christmas Shoe Box Project

Shoebox Project: work all year round

This work does not only begin at the end of the year, quite the opposite. For the “Shoebox Project” to be successful in December, it is carried out throughout the year. “We encourage companies, schools or churches to organize each year for our Christmas collection. One tip is for groups to organize themselves with goals and each month to have the item of the month. For example, January: toys; February: personal hygiene item; March: school supplies – and so on. Everyone knows an uncle or has a contact at a business that donates or sells at cost. This way, a small group can get a lot of boxes.”

The delivery period for the boxes is from October 15th to December 15th. “Like good Brazilians, we left everything until the last minute. So, we have to process and separate everything with the volunteers to send and fit into the schedule of logistics partner companies. In some cases, boxes arrive a little after Christmas. But it doesn't make any difference. For children, there is no day to receive a gift. It’s just a party!”

stack gifts christmas shoebox design

Donate and help the project

For everything to work out, donations are an important part of the process. “We simply share this idea with people. It is not a CNPJ helping an NGO. It's a person reaching out to a child's life with a gesture of love. The more you pay attention to your letter and box, the more the child notices and wants to thank you, as well as remembering it for a long, long time.”

As everything in 2020 is going differently, with the “Projeto Caixa de Sapato” it wouldn’t be much different. “This year we had to implement the idea of ​​the Digital Box. The proposed date is December 20th, but boxes that arrive later will always be delivered.”

Due to the pandemic, Filipe says that donations were even more necessary. “The needs have only increased for the families we reach. Helping is a matter of priority and love. This year we created the digital box precisely to facilitate those who are far away or have no time, but want to help.

children receive shoe box christmas gifts

Want to be part? There is still time to donate for Christmas 2020. Just click on this link here and make your donation.

To encourage you to donate, Filipe leaves a message: “Each child is different, just as each box is different. Make your box and write your letter. Your child will feel your affection and will remember you for a long time! A little box can change a child’s life for the better, as it carries a message of love and hope, which we all need.”

children's donations of Christmas masks pandemic Shoebox Project

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