You might remember our interview on TV3’s Ireland AM last year where we set a goal of collecting 240,000 shoeboxes in 2016?!
Of course, we knew at the time that this was a big increase from our 2015 numbers of 212,002 but we were full of hope! We had so many stories of how those Shoeboxes had brought hope, love and joy to the children who had received them and we were fully committed to creating more smiles!
Our incredible volunteers around the country set about contacting their local schools, colleges and businesses in September. Based in towns and cities all over the country, we have volunteers of all ages and life stages, from transition year students to parents with free mornings to the active retired, who use their free time to make the Christmas Shoebox Appeal happen.
Shoe shops started keeping shoeboxes for us and business owners offered us space to use to check and store the boxes.
In October the boxes began coming in. Volunteers who spoke to school and college groups, returned to collect their boxes. Axa Insurance branches, Fast Fit Tyres, Stacks Pharmacies, ToyMaster and other businesses allowed their shop floors to be used as collection points for local areas.
Schools, university and business groups offered to come to our checking centres to help to check boxes and box them up for transportation along with hundreds of individuals who gave their evenings and often days to help to get us ready to send the shoeboxes overseas.
We booked the trucks and shipping containers and before we knew it, we had boxes piled high from Donegal to Cork!
Ireland AM kept the campaign fresh in peoples minds with interviews, videos, and pictures, and the campaign continued to grow.
We were overjoyed to finally announce, live on air, that the people of Ireland had collected over a quarter of a million shoeboxes to send to children in need across Africa and Eastern Europe.
And following on from a successful online Shoebox campaign our numbers rose still to an incredible 254, 218 shoeboxes!
Below you can watch the final interview of the campaign back, which aired just 3 days before Christmas. And even then, we collected even more Shoeboxes through our online campaign in the following 3 days!
Every year we are so overwhelmed with the generosity of the people of Ireland and the heart we all share to care for those less fortunate then ourselves.
We have been able to share so many of the Shoebox photos you have sent to us on our Facebook page and Ireland AM also got to share so many of the pictures you sent in to them of you and your families and business taking part in the campaign.
It is our absolute pleasure to have been able to share the pictures and stories, as they have come back to us, of the many, many children whose lives were touched by those 254,218 shoeboxes on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. We continue to receive reports from our partners accross Africa and Eastern Europe of the difference these shoeboxes made to Christmases that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. We will be sure to continue to share their amazing stories and big, happy smiles!