Frequently Asked Questions

Bee and Claire are the main faces of the operation. These two do all the administration, liaison with schools and organisations, emails, coordination of sorting and deliveries. Cy is our IT / website guru who developed our website and registration software and then manages and troubleshoots throughout the year. We also have a team of ‘elves’ who assist with sorting, drop offs and deliveries as and when required.

Please get in touch with us ASAP. 

We do check in every single shoebox as we receive them. We allow ourselves a small window of time to chase up late shoeboxes but once we are past that point, we will reallocate your shoebox to a back up donator to fulfill that shoebox.

Unfortunately, we can't sit on stacks of shoeboxes waiting for a handful of late shoeboxes to come in otherwise we can't deliver the shoeboxes to the schools and organisations on time.

We know it can be frustrating to find out that your late shoebox won't get delivered to the school and your allocated child (we do understand that life throws curveballs as well!), which is why the timeline is set out early in the year ahead of registrations opening so you know exactly what you are committing to time wise. 

You can still get it to us (you will need to email us to see where the best place is to drop it off). We will store it to be used as a back up box for the following year of Shoebox Christmas.

We set the timeline at the start of each Shoebox Christmas year (around March) to factor in matters such as shorter school terms, the current covid climate, the number of volunteers that we know we have to help us with sorting and deliveries. 

Most schools finish up in the second or third week of December so we need to make sure that we deliver all shoeboxes in time for the end of the school year. A lot of our schools and organisations deliver each shoebox to the recipients home address so we need to allow the schools and organisations enough time to make sure each shoebox gets to its intended recipient.

We appreciate that deliveries being done in November is 'early' in terms of Christmas, but it is purely to ensure that everyone has time to do their part in the process. Remember - it is all done purely out of love, and that includes the time and effort that schools and organisations put into compiling lists of children right through to the delivery and handing out of shoeboxes.

In 2020 we registered as a Charitable Trust. The reason we have applied for charity status is to allow donations be received from amazing people within the community or apply for grants / funding. In order for us to continue to grow and support our community, we have some basic running costs – these include petrol for delivery vehicles, our insurance policy being paid every year, website hosting costs, wrapping paper, labels and Sellotape. It would also be great to have some funds available in the event of needing to prepare emergency shoeboxes – one of the team could go and shop for emergency shoeboxes and have them back in our hands the same day if we have a small monetary reserve available.

It is purely to protect the privacy of the child. Some of our children on our lists are currently living within vulnerable situations, parenting orders and other legal mechanisms. The schools provide us with a list of children and we then swap those names out (if the schools have not done so already) with a reference code. 

We specifically request no food as we don’t know if your allocated child has food allergies or lives with someone with severe food allergies. This is ensure the safety of the children and their families.

You can find this year's drop-off locations listed in the 'Drop-off Locations' section above.

You can get an empty shoebox from any shoe shop. Most shoe stores around town are aware of Tauranga Shoebox Christmas so have no issue with people coming into their stores asking for an empty shoebox.

We ask that your shoebox has a value between $20-$50. The reason for this is to prevent disappointment if more than one donator is contributing to one family. If one shoebox has something (i.e – a cellphone, iPod or gift vouchers) and another child from the same family gets a shoebox with a lesser value gift inside, it can be disappointing and difficult for parents to explain.

Unfortunately no. We are not given specifics of caregivers / parents however we do get advised (where known) if there are siblings in the same household. If there are other siblings that are at a different school we will try and get the age and gender of those sibling/s to ensure all the children in that household are covered.

Please get in touch with us as soon as you can. That will give us plenty of time to re-allocate to another family willing to donate. Absolutely no problem at all.

If you haven't signed up to donate (or you missed out on a child), please help by spreading the word! Share our Facebook page, tag your friends in our posts, share the website link, hustle around your colleagues, sports teams etc. We also have a Givealittle page operating if you wish to make a monetary donation. If we do need another person on board we will call out for more people to join our team.

Once the shoeboxes are delivered to the participating schools / organisations it is up to them to decide when / how the shoeboxes are distributed. Some give them out to the children on the last day of term, others hold a ‘shoebox christmas’ gathering for those children on the list so they can open them altogether. Others simply hand them out to the children before the end of Term 4 to take home and it is up to them if it goes under the tree until 25th December.

No. Shoebox Christmas is about personalised gifts for children in need. It's about the joy of unwrapping a gift, knowing someone has chosen it just for them.

Get creative! If you purchase pencil cases, lunch boxes etc fill them with other goodies - marbles, cards, put a book in a lunch box. It is amazing what you can fit into a shoebox when you get creative!

Not all schools, organisations, social workers are able to collate individual interests of the children they submit to us. However, we have a helpful list of ideas how to fill a shoebox which might be helpful in choosing appropriate gifts. Following the read, wear, need, want method serves most people well.

We started this community project in 2017 and it has grown from strength to strength. Our goal each year is to grow the number of schools and community organisations that we support, to eventually support every school within Tauranga city.

A list is compiled by each school / organisation. The general rule is that the child must be from a home that is struggling. The term ‘struggling’ is quite subjective, however schools are given a mini criteria of sorts (but not limited to):

  • Child has faced poverty – no lunch frequently, missing out on school activities due to parents not being able to afford, lack of school uniform, missing school due to financial difficulty
  • Child may have been subject to bullying
  • Child may have come from womens refuge or the mens shelter or another form of emergency housing situation
  • Child have suffered severe illness or had a family member suffer severe illness
  • Child may be terminally ill
  • Child may be in care, homeless or other means of struggle.

This is a mechanism in place to protect the privacy of children. The school / organisation names have been referenced in the child allocation code's. These will change each year to ensure privacy is maintained.

Follow us on Facebook where the majority of our updates will be posted. Ensure you hit the ‘like’ button and also are following us so that our updates show up in your news feed. Our website is updated regularly as well.

Unfortunately we cannot come and collect your shoebox. If we start collecting a few here and there we end up driving all over Tauranga picking up everyone’s shoeboxes. You can either post / courier it to Maven Bay of Plenty or try putting a post up on the shoebox Christmas page to see if anyone else might be going past your way and able to do a good deed on your behalf.


Yes. The reason for this rule is that it makes stacking the shoeboxes easier when storing them and when transporting them for delivery, as well as giving a general consistency in size.

No. We cannot sift through the list and allocate people their individual preferences. This year we have streamlined the process so a lot of it is automated in order to save us time behind the scenes. In the first few years, hundreds of hours went into manually allocating children with donators which we are keen to continue to do. In order for us to expand and cover more children, we need to automate our processes as much as possible.

Our goal is to cover from Omokoroa to Tauranga, through to Te Puke and to do it well (for want of a better phrase we want to 'look after our own backyard first').

If you are in one of our town centres, have time and energy available and would like to set up please get in touch! 

The long-term goal is to cover the Bay of Plenty region under our Charitable Trust.

Just flick us an email or a private message on FB and we will add another child to your allocation.

Yes. We ask for this as many of the children receiving shoeboxes do not get anything new throughout the year. It is a way to make them feel good knowing that everything in their box was purchased specifically for them.

Once you register, a message will flash on the screen above the registration form confirming your submission was sent. You will then be sent an email confirming your successful registration.

Once you have been allocated a child, another email will be sent with your shoebox reference code, age and gender of your allocated child. You will also receive a printable label with each of your allocated children's reference codes, which is to be fixed to your wrapped shoebox.

Please check your SPAM folder if no emails are received.

All general information can be found on the website and regular updates are posted to our Facebook page. During Shoebox season we also send updates to the email address you registered with. 

"We are so thankful for the amazing support that we have received for this beautiful community project!"

Tauranga Shoebox Christmas, We are so thankful for the amazing support that we have received for this beautiful community project!