Rugby international Josh van der Flier is supporting the Shoebox Appeal this year.

Josh van der Flier calls on Westmeath to line out for 2021 Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal

The Christmas Shoebox Appeal is back and it’s never been easier to #MakeAChildSmile this Christmas

International rugby player Josh van der Flier is switching scrums for shoeboxes as he lines out for Team Hope to officially launch the 2021 Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal.

Together, Josh and Team Hope are calling on friends, family, schools and communities across Westmeath to donate gift-filled shoeboxes for children affected by poverty in eastern Europe and Africa this Christmas.

The theme for this year’s Appeal is #MakeAChildSmile and aims to encourage people to think about the joy and smiles that a shoebox brings to the child who receives it.

Jonathan Douglas, Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal, manager said: “We are delighted that we have been able to safely return to normal operations for the Christmas Shoebox Appeal this year. The people of Westmeath have always been great supporters of the appeal, and we need all that support to make as many children as possible smile this Christmas.

“We can only do it, if we do it together.”

Josh van der Flier said that his earliest memory of the Christmas Shoebox Appeal was doing it in primary school. “It was always exciting because, even as a child, you really felt like you could make a difference,” he said.

“Like so many children, all I knew was Christmas filled with excitement and joy, and it was really hard to imagine that other children wouldn’t experience it in quite the same way. I hope that schools and families around Ireland will join me to raise as many shoeboxes (and smiles!) as possible.”

It has never been easier to build a shoebox. All you have to do is find an empty shoebox, wrap it in Christmas paper and fill it with gifts for a boy or girl aged between two and 14, give online or attach a €4 donation and take it to a local drop off point before the deadline of Monday November 8 – or you can build-a-box online by donating at

When considering items that are best to gift, think of the 4Ws:

Wear – Gloves, Hat, Scarf, Socks, Top, Underwear

Wash – Comb, Soap, Sponge, Toothbrush and Toothpaste, Washcloth

Write – Colouring Pencils, Notepad, Writing accessories

Wow – Fun Trinkets, Musical Toys, Puzzles, Soft toy, Ball, fun Sunglasses.

Every shoebox and online donation will allow Team Hope to deliver your shoebox with love and care directly into the hands of a child affected by poverty in countries across Eastern Europe and Africa.

Families, schools and communities are also encouraged to celebrate all the smiles that will be put on children’s faces during the second annual Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal Week, which will take place from November 1 to 8.

Team Hope’s aim in 2021 is to deliver as many shoeboxes as possible to children in Romania, Transnistria (Moldova), Ukraine, Kosova, Albania, Belarus, Burundi, Democratic Republic Congo, Lesotho, eSwatini (Swaziland), Malawi, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Rwanda as every shoebox counts.

For more information about the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal, please visit Team Hope also provides a range of free lesson plans and online resources for schools and businesses to help you get started.

#MakeAChildSmile #ChristmasShoeboxAppeal #EveryShoeboxCounts

Follow Team Hope on Facebook at and Twitter @TeamHopeIreland and Instagram @TeamHopeIreland.