Why change? It ain’t broken, is it?
Not really. But it is incredibly time and effort intensive, not scalable, and it relies entirely on me. If I’m too busy with work, two rightfully demanding kids, one awesome wife, and fifty million mental health saving hobbies, things fall over or the project stops. The changes this year stop the reliance on one point of failure and make it something that the community and school can own.
What are the changes?
- You choose age and gender. When you sign up, you will be able to select a preference for age and gender (based on availability). This is something you asked for.
- You choose the school area. When you sign up, you will be able to select a preference for school area (based on availability). This is to help with the below change.
- You drop directly to the school. The preferred process for dropping off is now that you will drop the present off directly to the school. This is to minimise the huge amount of transport, packing, and sorting that happens when you’re distributing 4500 presents across more than 30 schools. There is a back-up process if you can’t do this (below). To make sure the kids are all safe, you won’t be given the child’s name, you will be given a reference number – the school will know who that present should go to.
- Families can opt-out. Families at schools taking part can now opt-out. This is based on your feedback and will be up to each individual school to put in place.
- Presents will be scanned to mark as delivered. Presents will be scanned at the school so we know for certain which presents have been delivered and which presents the school is still waiting on. There will be a barcode on the label – so it’s just as important as last year that you print and attach the label on the present.
What if I can’t drop off to the school in school hours?
We have volunteer sled drivers lined up across the city who will be able to help. If you really, really, can’t make it to the school or arrange someone you know to drop your present off at the school during office hours, you can either drop your present at DHL in Rongotai, or check on the page (link here) for your local sled drivers and put a call out on the Shoebox Christmas Facebook page (link here), tagging them with @NAME – include the with details of which suburb you need the present to be picked up from, and where you need it to be dropped off. One of the volunteers will message you and between the two of you, you can sort out a way to pick up/drop off the present to the sled driver.
Won’t this make it harder for some people?
Maybe, but I’m going to be blunt here, so skip ahead if you don’t like the sound of that… it’s not about us, it’s about the schools and the kids. Making it as easy as possible for everyone is important, but it’s not as important as the project continuing and growing. So if a hundred people can’t do it this way, but we continue delivering presents to five thousand kids over the next five years. I think that’s OK.
OK, can I sign up now?
Soon! I’ll post a link to the Facebook page as soon as sign-ups open.
Do I still need to sign up if I took part in previous years?
Yes. Not everyone who took part previously, can take part again, so you will need to sign up for 2018 once registrations open.
Can I volunteer to be a sled driver?
Absolutely – I’m working on some guidelines at the moment and will get these up on the page as well as a form to fill out shortly.