The SBOL Story
Shoe Boxes of Love was an initiative started in January 2011, as a response to the floods that devastated Queensland. Since then, Shoe Boxes of Love has become a valuable resource in disaster relief efforts, having provided support to communities recovering from bushfires, floods and cyclones across Australia.
In 2011, our founder, Kimberley Marshall, was horrified at the destruction caused by the flooding in Queensland, so emailed family, friends and colleagues, and set up a Facebook event, encouraging donations of shoe boxes of love (or small boxes of essential and luxury toiletries). Anticipating a collection of 50 - 100 boxes, what started as a small idea to bring a smile to a few people's faces with donations from family, friends and colleagues, spread with tremendous speed throughout South Australia and Australia, and in partnership with the Rotary Club of Campbelltown, turned into one of the largest organic grassroots efforts for flood relief in South Australia.
With assistance of 15 close friends and family, approximately 50 volunteers, and donations received from all over South Australia, we were able to sort and send over 10,000 shoe boxes of love to Queensland for distribution to flood affected communities. As a result of the overwhelming generosity of not only the South Australian community, but also the communities throughout Darwin, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales, we were also able to provide approximately 5,000 Shoe Boxes of Love to residents affected by Cyclone Yasi, within a few weeks of the cyclone devastating Northern Queensland. We even received Shoe Boxes of Love that were lovingly posted from the US!
The shoe boxes of love appeal demonstrated the postitive impact social media can have on community responses and disaster relief efforts. Since our first appeal, we have collected and distributed shoe boxes of love from around the country, all of which have been put through a strict quality assurance process in our head office, before being dispatched to communities affected by floods, cyclones and bushfires.
Shoe Boxes of Love was officially recognised as a not-for-profit organisation on March 22nd, 2011, and is registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a Deductible Gift Recipient, which means that any financial donation (or donation-in-kind) made to our organisation is tax deductible
Shoe Boxes of Love continually looks for ways to provide additional support during disasters. In 2013, the team were asked to put together small gifts for the emergency services personnel responding to the bushfires in the Blue Mountains, NSW. This project has since evolved, and Shoe Boxes of Love is now involved in distributing care packs to emergency service volunteers both during and after a disaster. These care packs have been sewn by generous sewers from across Australia and are filled with special items for the volunteers.
Shoe Boxes of Love is proud to have developed strong working partnerships with a number of reputable organisations, such as Vinnies SA, the Salvation Army, and Uniting Care Communities, Red Cross and ACC International Relief to provide support following a disaster.
It is relatively inexpensive to put a shoe box of love together, costing as little as $20, and can easily be done by adding an extra few items to your weekly shop. This allows those who are not in a financial position to provide large cash donations to relief efforts with the opportunity to make a seemingly small contribution, and a world of difference to someone who has lost everything.
There is nothing more heartwarming than watching someone who has lost everything in a disaster receive a small box filled with love.