As the new school year approaches, shoebox packers are making use of back-school prices to purchase gifts and essential items for children in need around the world. They are collecting school supplies along with hygiene items and fun toys, to pack in shoeboxes. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver these gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries.
Stories of the impact made come from recipients like Tania who was 10 years old when she went to her church’s Christmas Eve program in Romania and was surprised with an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. Having been nurtured in a society where receiving gifts at Christmas was not a custom, she was excited and deeply appreciative. When she opened her shoebox, there was an explosion of color of plastic jewelry, new hat and scarves, and her favorite–school supplies. Tania later went on to become a teacher.
What Analyn remembers most about receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift is the joy she experienced when she realized it was hers. That was a gift in itself for the middle child in a family of seven in the Philippines who lived in a one-room bamboo house that their father had built. Her father drove a taxi cycle, and her mother washed laundry for others as a means of income. But they struggled to make ends meet. Analyn tried not to think about what they didn’t have, though it was harder during birthdays and Christmastime when her family couldn’t afford gifts. She wished she could have school supplies like her classmates. She loved to draw but thought she’d never be able to have a new set of crayons or colored pencils. When she received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift—Analyn’s first gift ever—she found a crayon box, colored pencils, and notebook.”I cannot believe I have my own full box of crayons in my hand,” Analyn recalled. She spent hours drawing in her notebook.
For more information, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. National Collection Week is Nov. 14-21. Participants can donate $10 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement. Boxes built online go to hard-to-reach countries.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, seeks to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 198 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories. This year, Operation Christmas Child will collect its 200-millionth gift-filled shoebox!