The Gift of Joy was a superb team effort made by The Rotary Club Of Algoa Bay. It was launched in 2015 as a new project and worked out splendidly! Originally, The Rotary Club Of Algoa Bay worked alongside other Rotary Clubs in PE under the project name “Tree Of Joy” and it was always such a rewarding experience; However, with the growth of the project and the logistics of managing all the Rotarians, it was felt that the project should be run as an individual Project of our Rotary Club to allow us to have more input on how the project is run (including the locations).

The name change was requested by PE West and also avoided confusion by the public when gifts were being returned.

Decisions which were unique to The Gift Of Joy project were the following:

  • All sizes of gifts were controlled and standardised by using gift bags. It was felt that this was fair to children who would be receiving the gifts.
  • It was decided to supply the public with gift bags which meant that the storage and collection of the gifts was manageable.
  • We promoted the idea of having pre-packed bags which catered to the requests from the charities. It was anticipated that many shoppers didn’t have the time to shop but wanted to participate in choosing a beneficiary and simply handing over a sum of money, which was the case for most sponsorships..
  • The committee also decided that R100 was a more acceptable amount than the Tree of Joy R150..
  • It was further decided to partner with a shopping centre where it was felt there would be more disposable income

All of the above decisions were validated when we ran the project for the first time


The NameOfficially it is “The  Gift Of Joy,” but Rotarians do shorten the name to “Gift of Joy.”
Locations  in 2015

  • Brookes-on-the-Bay (Brookes Hill Pavilion)
  • Walmer Park Shopping Centre

Both of these venues were good, but our roster did not allocate Rotarians to the Brookes On the Bay Pavilion; so unfortunately we could not maintain management of this spot for longer than a week. We did raise about R1000 cash from this venue as well as 5x gift bags. The centre manager – Jemé Beukes – should be thanked for her superb effort and input.
Both venues have invited us back next year and we have had interest from the Bay West Mall who telephoned me asking whether we could  put up a desk there. Because of the short notice, we could not; But it is all but certain that The Gift of Joy will have presence in Bay West in 2016.

The Timetable

The timetable was drawn up by Jeff and only two Rotarians did not show up for their shift.

Rotarians really enjoyed this project and many supported it by purchasing gifts themselves.

In future, there is a need to incorporate all venues into the timetable and perhaps it is not necessary to have two Rotarians as well as a paid volunteer in each time slot, especially because the system has been streamlined so much. There are definite times in the day when is it very quiet and specific days nearer to Christmas Day when it is busier. The early part of the morning was generally very quiet.
The Card System

The new card system was much better than the old system previously used by the Tree of Joy. In future, Dane would like to use a generic “RED” thank you card so that it alleviates looking up a corresponding card number; because cards sometimes get mixed up.
We feel that sponsors are not concerned whether they have a corresponding thank you from their specific beneficiary and this will make the card system very smooth and speedy. Many sponsors did not take their thank you red card; so the above will streamline this as well. Cards will only be given out if wanted.
Supporters are also not utilising the personalised message area on the card; nor are beneficiaries – so it is wasted area.
It has also been suggested that all cards be stored numerically instead of in the different charity boxes in order to further streamline the look-up process. They can be put out in groups according to the charities.
We also feel that a checklist to make sure that each beneficiary has received a gift would be a great form of control. This checklist must be done towards the end of the project so that no one is left out. It has also been suggested that we only accept money donations so we may pack the standardised gifts ourselves and not ask for people to shop – This will be discussed later in the year.

The pre-packaged gifts worked extremely well! We managed to secure a buyer’s card from a wholesaler in town so we are able to buy toiletries, toys, and even sweet treats at a considerably lower price. A retail value of ±R160 for R100!
I think that it would be a great fellowship idea if we had a “packing parcels fellowship” one evening where Rotarians could pack our Gifts Of Joy Bags
I also feel that we should streamline the bags into the following:

  • Christmas Treat Hampers – Young people
  • Christmas Treat Hampers- Senior people
  • Toys
  • Stationery
  • Toiletries
  • These were definitely the preferred choices
  • We also got lots of bars of chocolate from Cadburys  through Denise Long which we included into the adult hamper packs

Pull up Banners

We bought three pull up banners and one vinyl sign.
It has been suggested that we get another pull up banner with full details of How The Gift of Joy works
Security of Money Concerns

Cash money was collected daily by myself and amounted to quite a lot.
Most of the buying I did with my own business card and I deposited the cash into my own card account to balance. The cash deposit fees are unfortunately quite high and although I absorbed the costs myself last year, this will be a real cost as we are hoping to buy the gifts in advance this year.
Human Resources

We had a Rotaractor managing the stall and this worked well, although I personally feel that we should have allowed her to complete the time until the 20 December as about 9 gifts were returned after we had closed up and which were dropped off at the centre management office.
Printing of Cards

Bukani has to be thanked as all the cards were sponsored by Bukani / Alan Taylor
Gift Wrapping

The Gift bags were a hit and we have still got about 300 in stock for the 2016 table!

We supplied 317  gifts but we really could have catered for many more. We were hesitant to take on beneficiaries which had not been verified by Les.
The organisations which we supported were:

  • Lake Farm
  • Cleary Park Cheshire
  • Cheshire- Summerstrand
  • Carehaven
  • Happy Feet
  • Khaya Cheshire
  • Echo Foundation
  • Walmer Outreach
  • SOS Children’s Village in Schauderville
  • SOS Children’s Village in Overbaakens

Perhaps we can work on obtaining a list of Beneficiaries earlier in the year
Money Matters – All slips for expenditure have been retained for validation

Cash Money Received from Sponsors for specific beneficiaries R13 550
Money Received in advance from Club Funds R1400
Donations R250
Packed 140  Bags R14 000
Had to re buy for 9 bags which only contained a packet of marshmallows R500
Had to buy for 6 Bags which were not returned in time R600

At one point I felt that we perhaps could have made a small profit because of our buying advantage; but unfortunately we did not foresee that some gifts (nine!) were not to the R100 value at all – five that we opened only contained a R10 packet of marshmallows and a small packet of nik naks! So, we had to supplement these bags.

We also had to shop for 9 cards which were not returned as we had decided to close earlier than anticipated – originally we thought it was only for 6.

12289620_852114501572179_178669670352096668_n 12313998_10156511263610019_2491570798933364163_n 11049109_10156512084810019_5494891923531904793_o 12341193_10153520994167639_3697033506507979301_nThese gifts were eventually returned after we had closed and were sent to Echo Foundation where the matron assured me should would give them out to needy people.

Only one person from Lake farm received their gift after the Christmas period due to falling through the system –  A gentleman of 69  (Johan) –  but he was apparently thrilled when he did receive his package and it was bumped up with a lot of extra goodies to clear out my store!

A further suggestion is to gladly accept any donations from people wanting to make a difference. Perhaps someone is not able to donate a full R100 but wants to also help.

After calculations have been finished, we have an excess of R100 – from such donations!