Whoa, what a week.
Friday marked the last of our early morning sorting sessions at the warehouse, the last school having their presents delivered and handed out to the kids, and conveniently fell on my birthday which made celebratory dinner at the park with my funny little 2 year old even better.

holy-family-holding2

How we helped

This year as a team we delivered 3600 presents to kids in 16 low decile schools, 2 pre-schools, one group of kids in need from a higher decile school, and 4 Women’s Refuge Centres. It’s been incredible to see the depth of feeling we have out there as a country, community, and society, the willingness to give, and the lengths we’ll go to once we know can make a difference

rata-st-chain-gang

For those of us lucky enough to be doing OK, it can be easy to think everyone is just like you, and that the families down the road or on the other side of town take the same things for granted that you do. But the reality is they don’t. 90,000 kids this year are living below the poverty line – that’s too many. You helped a lot of those kids forget that, even if it was just for one day this year.
Giving one or two shoeboxes might only give one extra moment of happiness to one of those kids, and that might not seem like a lot. But when you multiply that across over 2400 volunteers, and see the accumulated effect on a whole school of kids, then across three entire cities worth of schools and all the people they tell about it and who the story reaches along the way, it’s actually a phenomenal amount of happiness you’ve spread as a team.
You’ve also helped inspire others to give, to start up projects in their own cities, and re-affirmed a huge amount of confidence in us as humans.

thank-you-card

There’s been lots of beautiful Thank You cards and letters sent from the kids and schools, I’ll share some over the next few weeks.

Whether you gifted a shoebox, told your friends about the project, helped sort and stack the biggest pile of presents I’ve ever seen, or drove around the lower north island picking up and dropping off presents, you helped make that happen. Thank you.
And thank you again to BNZ, DHL, Mitre 10 Mega, and TradeMe for giving up your time, space and resource to help. I’ve said it before but it’s very cool to know there are companies like this that will lend a hand because they believe they should, not because it’s a PR activity but because the company values are the same as those of the people in charge – I could write a novel on corporate social responsibility and how important it is, but I’ll leave it at a simple thanks!


I’ve learnt a lot of lessons through the project this year, some about how many people there are that care and want to help, some about the process of scaling a project like ours up, a lot about how to make things better next year, and some about myself. For the last year I’ve been writing down things I’ve learnt and want my daughter to know when she’s older – this one features Shoebox Christmas so here it is in case it’s interesting or useful to anyone else in the team. It’s about confidence, ego, and goals.


What’s next?
Next week I’ll deliver the 4 Women’s Refuge centres their presents, there’s been some very cool looking gifts for kid and mums coming in from the team, and these all make it easier for the little families that need Women’s Refuge at this time of year, to have the the kind of Christmas some of us are lucky enough to take for granted.

Reflective practice
In the new year I’m going to sit down and review each stage of the project to look at how we can make it better next year. I need your help too, if you took part I’ve sent you a survey to let me know how you found being involved – if you haven’t received it and took part please let me know!

Stationery Starter Packs
A lot of you helped out with this, and as a result we’re setting up around 70 students starting college or intermediate next year, with a stationery starter pack. Stay tuned for updates and info in the new year.

I’ll keep sharing the thank you notes, cards and pictures of those cool little faces over the next month or so.

I’ll be in touch again to let you know once sign-ups for 2017 project open, then we’ll do it all again, but better!

Talk soon,
Pera

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