Originally started by North West Rotary clubs in 1994, the Rotary Shoebox Scheme was intended to provide children of Iasi, in north-east Romania with Christmas gifts.
Since then, the scheme has become a national project supported not only by Rotary clubs but also by individuals, schools, companies, churches, Inner Wheel, Rotaract & Interact.
Gifts are now sent out throughout the year to many different countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Each year we now send around 50,000 Shoeboxes or gifts, for disadvantaged children and adults.
Each December we send over 14,000 boxes to Ukraine and in March another 14,000+ boxes to Romania for Easter celebrations.
The Rotary Shoebox Scheme is made possible thanks to trusted partners in Eastern Europe who help to distribute the boxes including Hope & Homes for Children, International Aid Trust, and Association Spurgeons.
In some instances, some children may never have received a gift, until they receive one of our Shoeboxes, and their reactions make you realise how much the Rotary Scheme means to them, by spreading a little happiness.
One girl, aged 8 was thrilled to receive her first doll of her own, and said: “it is the most beautiful doll I ever saw. I will dress her and take care of her; I never had a doll before.”
A 10 year old boy received a baseball cap and wore it all afternoon showing the dispatch team saying “I look so cool.”
One 12 year old girl was always asking for paper and pens from our team, and finally received some new pens and a notebook – she showed it to everyone! ‘What shall I write?’ she asked…” Oh I know!” she smiled and in beautiful cursive letters she proudly wrote her first word in the new notepad…
The Shoebox Scheme is a registered charity working only with volunteers over the last 25 years, serving humanitarian need, and has no political or religious affiliations. It is an ideal project for multiracial schools.
We operate throughout Great Britain & Ireland using only our boxes and are not associated with any other Rotary Shoebox charity.
If you want to find out more about this cause, visit the Rotary Shoebox Website.