#Shoebox2014 – my charity in 2014

If you were not too busy during december and you follow me on Facebook than I am sure that you saw my posts about how I got involved in Shoebox campaign this year.


If you don’t know what is Shoebox than here is a short description – a campaign run by volunteers that gather shoe boxes filled with presents for not so fortunate children. The idea is that the shoeboxes are made by our kids in order to develop generosity and kindness from a young age.

I heard about this campaign a long time ago when I was still living in UK and I thought that as soon as I can I will get involved too. And so I did this year. I set myself a low target. If I could just manage to gather around 20-30 shoeboxes from my close friends will be great. In the end however we had a lot more – 100 boxes were sitting in my living room waiting to be delivered on 16th of December. All the shoeboxes were done but my neighbours and friends from my hometown.

And because of my idea the campaign was done in my eldest school and even there almost 200 shoeboxes were gathered! Amazing!


Being part of this wonderful campaign gave me and my eldest a lot of excitement and satisfaction. Although the process was hard at the beginning it shortly brought more and more boxes which meant that more and more kids were set to be a tiny bit before Christmas.

We delivered some of the boxes to Kara’s school and to another close by school in my town (to the kids not so fortunate there) , to children straight at the places they live in (in and outside my hometown). There were tears of joy and emotion….there was instant happiness at these kids smiles and anticipation of joy but there was sadness too…

Seeing how some of these kids live break my heart. Some were living in places without water , electricity or heat. How is it possible in this day and age for this to be possible?

Receiving a present especially for them was more important for them than anything they found in the shoe boxes. Some of them receive their first toy car or doll through this project.





I love the fact that they had a romanian flag hanged somewhere in the house – you can see it small inside on the left side of the picture.


We also gave the girls below some dolls. – they never had some…so look how happy they are:


Some of these little people really break my heart because of the situation they are in…you see for example this little boy has a rare case of leukemia…although he didn’t smile through his words he made us understand how happy he was..”I received two presents just for me!” he told his neighbour.

His family struggles to pay for his treatment and there is probably no cash left for things like toys or sweets…


This next little girls is looked after by her grandparents (they are in their 70’s..):


You see how proud she is of her box? Smiles like her make doing things like this worth it!

This little girl has the Down syndrom and unfortunately she has to live in a wooden house along with the rest of her family – one room for 10 of them.


Besides of delivering the boxes to the children on my list (completed with names from the social services office and names from people that just know about cases of kids with a bad situation) , I also visited Centrul Scolar pentru Educatie Incluziva Maria Montessori which translated means The Center for Inclusive Education Maria Montessori.

Although he couldn’t talk properly the child in the picture below was really happy when he received his shoebox and he insisted on telling us a poetry. I smiled and cried all at the same time…


He wasn’t the only one there….some of the kids in the centre have homes to go too but the others were left in the centre to be looked after by the staff.

How cruel can a parent be to leave his child no matter the problems in somebody else care?

shoebox12 shoebox15

Look how this young boy sits on the floor and takes his time to discover what is in there…he even puts the gloves he just received on:

shoebox16 shoebox18

There are many stories to be told. Many kids stories but I am afraid I might bore you too much! If you have the chance to get involve in the Shoebox campaign next year please do. If next year I am still here and you would like to send a shoebox for the kids I will be delivering too please do get in touch. If you would like to collect boxes where you are for the kids in Romania then please get in touch.

There are many kids that need a little help here and everywhere…so if you can try and bring a little smile on a child face. It’s priceless. The centre I was telling about also needs help not only at Christmas – unfortunately is far from being as equipped with the things these children need…

So if you fancy coming to work as a voluntary in that centre why not get in touch and I will let you know what you need to do. Let’s transform these dark hallways in light hallways:


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  • Donna @ Little Lilypad Co

    Oh Otilia, what a wonderful thing to do. My daughters school has done the shoe box appeal (Although strangely not last year) and it is amazing to see the images of sheer joy on the childrens faces.

    Much love to you for doing and sharing this x

    • Otilia

      I think people do it all over the world for different countries. In romania it started in 2007 and at the moment boxes are collected around the world for here too which is quite amazing. When you think about the fact that the salary of a romanian is usually 3 times smaller than the one for a british citizen..and we still had people donating here too is amazing!

  • Penny Carr

    oh Otilia I’m in tears after reading that post. It breaks my heart to think that in this day and age there are children living in such poverty, but iI’m overjoyed that people like you are so kind and have done so much to make a real difference to these children. I would love to get involved and help in some way next year. Please just prod me nearer the time. X

  • Polka Dot Family

    What a wonderful way to give back at Christmas, the smiles on the children’s faces really do make it all worthwhile. I will have to see if there is a shoebox collection in my local area next Christmas.

  • Romanian Mums Hubby

    I couldn’t be more proud of my amazing wife. The work she did leading up to christmas was truly amazing.
    Bringing so much joy to children who would have received very little to nothing on the 25th.
    She is a true Romanian super hero and a shining example to us all.

  • Carolin

    What a wonderful thing to do, Otilia. These poor poor children. I bet you made their Christmas by showing them that someone thinks of them this Christmas. What a great project to get involved in x

    • Otilia

      It is a little thing I promised myself I will do. It is true it keeps me really busy just before christmas but it just made me and everyone involved feel more grateful for what we have! And yes as one of the moms told us…”i really didn’t have anything to put for them under the tree this year :(“

    • Otilia

      Oh Jenny. you know i still feel i could’ve done more…i have about 500 pictures to look at actually…and plus all the ones from the other volunteers all over the country…it’s a gift nobody can take back from these children .

  • Mammasaurus

    Oh this is just so wonderful of Otilia. Beautiful to hear and see the difference the boxes make and always heart breaking to hear of such poverty. You are such a brilliant role model to your daughters and I’m proud to be your friend xx

  • MummyNeverSleeps

    Oh Otilia. I had no idea you were doing this. 300 boxes? That’s truly incredible, you must be so proud and humble. To see how much difference little boxes have made to these children is just wonderful but you’re totally right, why is this still happening?

    Well done you xx

    • Otilia

      I don’t know…i guess we have to understand that there are good and wonderful things on this planet but there are really awful and sad things too…It makes me sad but really ambitious to do more for the ones that don’t have!

  • Penny

    This is amazing to see, thanks so much for sharing it, I really enjoyed seeing the lovely pictures and reading your words and you could never bored me, in fact I wanted more pics! it really makes me want to do something to help. So please if you do this next year count me in if we can help you from the UK in some way.

    • Otilia

      Oh Penny that is so wonderful to hear! You know in Liverpool they collected boxes at a hospital for kids here! There is a romanian doctor working there.
      To tell you the truth I never thought it will be so big and that people will do so much so this is why i was so quiet about it this year. But next year I am coming back with more and hopefully more boxes. Thank you so much for offering! xxx

  • Clare

    What a fantastic achievement to have organised so much. There is no doubt that you will have changed so many Christmases with your generosity. Well done xx

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