Delivering Christmas joy in a shoebox
‘‘Santa Pera Claus’’ has traded his sleigh for a courier’s van packed to the roof with donated presents.
On Tuesday, Pera Barrett pulled up to Glenview Primary School in Porirua to hand over 83 gifts – one for every pupil.
This is Shoebox Christmas, an idea by which gifts that can fit into a shoebox are donated to children who otherwise might miss out at Christmas.
Barrett, called Pera Claus by the children, will deliver 3600 presents to 16 low-decile schools, preschools and Women’s Refuges across the Wellington region before the big day.
The project began three years ago at Glenview, a decile one school in Porirua’s East, when Barrett decided to ‘‘spread some love around’’.
‘‘The kids could do with as much love as they can get and there’s people out there who will give it to them.’’
In 2015, Corinna School was added to the list and over 300 presents were delivered to the two schools.
This year the idea had exploded, Barrett, a father of one, said.
It’s a huge job and one that takes him most of the year to organise.
‘‘It’s a lot of work to fit in between my job and my whanau, but I have some really great volunteers to help out.’’
A child’s age, gender and interests are given to each registered donor, who then buys a present and wraps it, before it is collected and stored in a Wellington ware- house then distributed to a school.
‘‘Most people want to help, they just need to be given the opportunity,’’ Barrett said.
This year there were more people who wanted to donate than there were recipients.
In keeping with the theme, courier company DHL provided the transport for free.
Driver Scott Pointon said it was one of the happiest deliveries he’s made.
‘‘I feel a bit like Santa myself. Maybe next year Santa will be a handsome young man in a DHL top.’’
Glenview principal Lynda Knight-de Blois said she was grateful to Barrett and the people who donated presents to her pupils. ‘‘It’s about equity. ‘‘Our families are all rich in different ways, but some will struggle at Christmas.
This will help.’’
Pera Barrett and pupils of Glenview School, Porirua.