How to Pack a Shoebox | Samaritans Purse Skip to main content
Child smiles and holds shoebox above head

How to Pack a Shoebox

Each year thousands of people like you generously pack shoebox gifts to bring great joy and the Good News of Jesus Christ to children around the world. Find out all you need to know about how to build your shoebox gift below, or if you are tight for time you can select your gifts online and we’ll pack and send one for you through Build a shoebox Online.

Step 1

Find a shoebox

Find a shoebox

Start with a medium sized shoebox. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately. You can use your own shoeboxes or order our colourful preprinted ones.

Attach the boy/girl label to the top of your shoebox. Mark if your gift is for a boy or a girl and select an age category 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.

Step 2

Fill it with gifts


Fill your shoebox with a selection of fun toys, school supplies and personal care items. If possible, include one or two extra special items you know a child will love such as a doll, cuddly toy or deflated football with pump. See our Gift Suggestions below for more ideas.

Fill with gifts

Step 3

Make your project donation

Make your project donation


A suggested donation of £5 is essential to cover project costs including collection, processing, shipping, project materials and training local churches to lead a safe, well-organised children's event where your shoebox will be given to a child in need.  

Give online at Follow Your Box and you can print out a barcode and place it inside your shoebox on top of the contents. This will enable us to tell you which country your shoebox gets sent to.

Step 4

Personalise and pray


Pray for the child that will receive your gift. You may also like to personalise your shoebox by including a hand written note and a photograph of yourself, your group or your family. 

Personalise and pray

Step 5

Drop off your shoebox

Drop off your shoebox


Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox and take it to a local Drop-off Location.

National Collection Week is 11-18 November, 2024.

Gift Suggestions

There are so many great items you can pack in a shoebox gift and a few things to avoid. Explore our Gift Suggestions and guidance below:

Please do not include these items 

Toothpaste, sweets, lotions and liquids; used or damaged items; war-related items (e.g. toy guns, model soldiers, military vehicles etc.); seeds, gum, chocolate or food items; religious or political literature; medicines, aerosol cans, knives, sharp or fragile items.

Items packed from this list will be removed from shoeboxes. Read more about this process.

Add a Special Item

Special Item

Include a special toy that will capture a child's attention as soon as they open the box. Ideas include: 

  • Cuddly toy
  • Football and pump
  • Toy truck
  • Doll
  • Musical instrument
Two girls smiling with cuddly toy


Girl with shoebox full of toys
  • Toy cars
  • Animal figures
  • Building blocks
  • Skipping rope
  • Tennis ball
  • Yo-yo
  • Spinning top
  • Mini frisbee
  • Fidget spinner
  • Finger puppets
  • Slinky
  • Travel games
  • Small musical instruments
  • Small puzzles etc.

School Supplies

  • Pens
  • Pencils & sharpeners
  • Crayons
  • Felt tip pens
  • Ruler
  • Eraser
  • Writing pads or notebook
  • Solar calculators
  • Geometry set
  • Glue stick
  • Pre-inked Stampers
  • Colouring books
  • Watercolour paint set (solid only)
  • Safety scissors 
  • Craft kits
Boy holding pencils

Personal Care Items

Boy shows off new toothbrush
  • Comb
  • Hairbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Flannel
  • Bar soap (packaged and/or in a container)
  • Sponge
  • Reusable plastic containers: cup, water bottle, plate, bowl, blunt-edged utensils (Fill an empty container with non-liquid items such as sunglasses or flannel to make use of the space)
  • Non-liquid lip balm
  • Nail clippers and file
  • Stick deodorant
  • Compact mirror

Accessories and Other items

  • Hat
  • Gloves 
  • Sunglasses
  • Cap
  • T-shirt
  • Socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Small backpack, handbag or drawstring bag
  • Hair bows or clips
  • Friendship bracelets (woven with yarn or embroidery thread)
  • Watch
  • Wind-up Torch
  • Necklace or bracelet
  • Stickers 
  • A personal note and photo
Girl smiles wearing her new accessories

Make Your Gift Fun, Full, and Personalised.

boys explore shoebox gifts

For children around the world, a shoebox is often their very first gift. Given together with the Good News of Jesus Christ, it communicates God’s love to a boy or girl in need. So, it is important to make sure your gift is …

FUN—includes a special item and other quality toys

FULL—packed to the brim with additional school supplies and personal care items

PERSONALISED—prayed over and contains a note and photo, which are often the child’s favourite items!

Download Gift Suggestions and FAQ's