Christmas Shoebox Appeal FAQ

What is the Christmas Shoebox Appeal?

The Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal is an annual campaign where thousands of people across Ireland donate shoeboxes filled with gifts for children affected by poverty in Africa or Eastern Europe. It is an opportunity to share a little joy and excitement with children who live in circumstances where these can often be in short supply.

How can I get involved?

Building a Christmas Shoebox has never been easier! You can either build your box at home or online.

To build your box at home you’ll need to wrap a shoebox in colourful paper, fill it with items for a child and then drop it off at one of our many drop off points. We also request a donation of €4 to cover the costs associated with getting your box to a child.

Or if you’d prefer, you can build your box online and we’ll do the work for you. You can use the fun box builder to select the items you’d like to see in a box, donate €20 and we’ll ensure that a box full of lovely gifts gets to child!

You can team up with family, friends, neighbours or colleagues to try to raise as many boxes, and help as many children, as possible! You can order promotional materials such as leaflets and posters here or you can download our digital leaflet here.

What can I put in my Shoebox?

We like to ensure that every shoebox is filled with items from the 4W’s – something to Wash with, something to Write with, something to Wear and something to make a child go Wow! If you’re filling your box at home we have lots of ideas of things to include; on our website and social media! We ask you not to include scary or war related items, liquids, large clothes or food (other than sweets!), you can find a list of things not to include here.

If you’ve donated your box online Team Hope will ensure that it is filled with items from the 4W’s. You can use the fun box builder to select the items you’d like to see in a box before donating €20 and we’ll ensure that a box full of lovely gifts gets to child!

This year it is ok to include reusable masks in shoeboxes, but please do not include hand sanitiser as we cannot take liquids.

Where will the Shoboxes be sent?

This year, Team Hope expect to send your Christmas Shoebox gifts to children in Albania, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Kosovo, Lesotho, Malawi, Romania, Rwanda, eSwatini (Swaziland), Transnistria (Moldova) and Ukraine.

Who are the Christmas Shoebox gifts given to?

Christmas Shoeboxes are given to children, aged 2-14 years, in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Christmas Shoeboxes are given to children who are most vulnerable. In many cases this means children who are living in poverty. These are identified with the help of charities, local churches or with the help of the local government.

Criteria used to identify vulnerable children include:

  • Children from families affected by poverty (i.e. low income or unemployed households)
  • Children from single parent families, or with ill parents
  • Children with no living parents
  • Children living with disabilities or illness
  • Children from ethnic or social groups facing discrimination
  • Children living in institutions (e.g. orphanages, groups homes etc)

When is the deadline for Christmas Shoeboxes?

Our final closing date has been extended to Monday November 15th!

Team Hope will be celebrating Christmas Shoebox Appeal Week from 1st – 8th November, where everyone will be encouraged to build as many boxes as possible and share their updates on social media using #MakeAChildSmile and #ChristmasShoeboxAppeal. During this week schools will also be encouraged to take part in lessons around the Appeal, showing the impact of a shoebox and the importance of giving.

The final date that shoeboxes can be donated online is 23rd December 2020 –but the sooner you can purchase your Christmas Shoebox online the quicker Team Hope can arrange for them to be delivered!

How can I follow Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal online?

You can follow the latest news and updates from Team Hope on:
Facebook at
Twitter at @TeamHopeIreland
Instagram at @TeamHopeIreland

Or using the campaign hashtags

How do I personalise my online box?

If you want to donate online you will be able to build-a-box choosing items from the 4W’s that you would like to add into your ‘ideal’ box. These gifts are based on Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal’s 4Ws – Wash, Write, Wear and Wow.

When purchasing a shoebox online, you can also personalise your shoebox by uploading a picture or image. There are some worksheets which you can download and print to help share a little about yourself with the recipient of your box. Once you’ve completed your shoebox donation you’ll receive an email with a link to upload a photo or scan of your worksheets. Team Hope will send these to our partners to print and put into a Shoebox.

Where can I drop my shoebox off?

There are over 400 drop off locations across the country, in particular all Dealz stores, First Stop and Toymaster branches around Ireland. A full list of all our drop off points will be available here from the 22nd October.

I can’t donate a full box, can I still help?

Yes, there are lots of ways you can donate to make a box. This year we’re encouraging everyone to take part in whatever way they can. This could be through getting together with friends to make boxes together, helping promote the Appeal or running a fundraiser to make online boxes. Any donation, no matter how small will help us get as many boxes as possible.

Christmas Shoeboxes and COVID-19

There is no risk of COVID-19 to a child receiving a shoebox from the contents. All shoeboxes sent from Ireland will be in transit longer then the virus can survive on surfaces. Our in-country partners act within local guidelines to ensure distribution events are COVID safe.

In Ireland, we have guidelines for all our volunteers in checking centres and whilst collecting boxes to ensure we remain in line with government guidelines and keep everyone safe.

How will my child’s school know they’ve done an online shoebox?

If your child’s school is doing the Christmas Shoebox Appeal but you’d rather donate a box online your receipt email will contain a link to a colouring sheet which can be printed and brought in to show their class.

Can I volunteer with the Christmas Shoebox Appeal?

We have up to 50 volunteer teams across the country who are active between mid-September to early December. They are often looking for more help to promote the Appeal or to collect and check the shoeboxes.  You can find details of your local coordinator here or email – we look forward to hearing from you!

How are the Christmas Shoeboxes delivered?

Team Hope works with trusted locally based partner, in the countries where shoeboxes are delivered, many of which we have been working with for many years. Once you have dropped off your box at a drop off point, our Irish based volunteers will check it for any items that shouldn’t be included before packing them onto trucks or in shipping containers where they are sent directly to our partners to distribute.

For boxes donated online Team Hope’s partners will purchase items in the countries in which they work and assemble the boxes to give to children. Team Hope will endeavour to ensure gift items selected online are purchased. However, in some cases due to local needs or availability, this may not be exactly possible.

Team Hope has clear guidelines for distributing shoeboxes which include requirements for partners to report in detail on the distribution of shoeboxes and the funds spent to create them.

What happens once I drop off my box?

After you drop off your box it will be collected by one of our local volunteer teams. Our volunteers check all the shoeboxes to make sure there are no unsafe or inappropriate items and afterwards seal them with Team Hope tape – the next time they will be opened is by a child!

They are then cartoned and loaded onto trucks to be sent to a country in Africa or Eastern Europe where our local partners will give it straight into the hands of a child.

Team Hope seeks to honour the donor in all circumstances and as a result does not split up boxes unless in extremely exceptional circumstances (i.e. the box is simply too large to send!).

What does the donation for a Christmas Shoebox cover?

For boxes donated at our drop offs we request a donation of €4. This donation goes towards the cost of making the whole Christmas Shoebox Appeal programme happen, including promotion, transport and delivering of your box to each child.

For boxes donated online, your €20 covers the purchase of shoebox contents, based on the 4W’s – items to Wash, Write, Wear and Wow, as well as helping to cover the costs mentioned above.

If there are any surplus funds, they are used for Team Hope’s on-going development work with children, their families and communities. Details of this work alongside Team Hope’s annual audited accounts can be found here.

How much money goes on actual charitable activities?

In our last audited accounts 95% of Team Hope’s expenditure was spent on direct charitable activities and the remaining 5% covered support costs, governance and the cost of raising funds.

What does being a Christian Charity mean?

Team Hope, like many other organisations, has been motivated to help others based on the beliefs in the Christian tradition, which are compassion, social justice and the inherent value and dignity of all people. In line with these beliefs, we ensure that shoeboxes are given to children based on need alone, regardless of race, religion, political affiliation etc., and with nothing asked for in return.