The beginning of Operation Christmas Child started October 1990 when Dave and Jill Cooke of Wrexham, Wales watched a broadcast on Romanian orphanages and war and asked “How can we help the real victims, the children, who live in these situations day after day?”
With this question, they started with the gift of love and filled nine trucks with medical supplies, food, clothing, and Christmas gifts for children and took them to Romania.
This was but the beginning of the world’s largest children’s Christmas program. By 1993, Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse international president and son of Billy Graham, international evangelist, adopted Operation Christmas Child. Since then, more than 69 million shoe boxes have been delivered to more than 135 countries throughout the world.
“Seeing children’s faces light up when they receive shoe box gifts is a joy that will never grow old for me,” Graham said in a media release. “God has blessed Operation Christmas Child beyond anything we ever imagined.”
More and more individuals are participating in Operation Christmas Child. Last year, the program received more than 8 million boxes, most of them from the United States of America.
Nevertheless, there is still a growing need each year to continue providing toys and necessities for children who have had to learn to live without them. Choose a gender and age group (2-4, 5-9, or 10-14 years old) and select appropriate items.
To participate, fill your shoe box with one or more items from each ‘something’:
SOMETHING TO LOVE: Teddy bear, doll, soft toy, etc.
SOMETHING FOR SCHOOL: Exercise book, pencil case, pens, pencils, colouring pencils, sharpener, eraser, chalk, etc.
SOMETHING TO WEAR: T-shirt, shorts, underwear, cap, beanie, sandals, thongs, etc.
SOMETHING TO PLAY WITH: Tennis ball, cars, skipping rope, marbles, musical instrument, yo-yo, slinky, finger puppets, wind up torch, etc. (No battery operated items)
SOMETHING FOR PERSONAL HYGIENE: Soap and face washer, toothbrush, hairbrush, comb, hair-clips, scrunchies, etc.(No toothpaste)
SOMETHING SPECIAL: Carry bag, sunglasses, bangles, necklaces, craft kits, stickers, note or photo of yourself.
Items that are not allowed
ITEMS THAT LEAK OR MELT – (these can spoil boxes) including toothpaste, shampoo, bubbles, plasticine/play dough and batteries
FOOD OR LOLLIES OF ANY KIND – (due to customs regulations) including medicines and vitamins
ANY USED OR DAMAGED ITEMS – (due to customs regulations) including worn clothing and old toys
ANY BREAKABLE ITEMS – including glass, porcelain and mirrors
ANY ITEM THAT CAN SCARE OR HARM A CHILD – including knives, war-related toys and toy guns
ANY GAMBLING-RELATED ITEMS – including play money, playing cards and dominoes
ANYTHING OF A RELIGIOUS, RACIAL OR POLITICAL NATURE
Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box prepared to help cover shipping and other project costs. Samartian’s Purse is offering a chance to follow the box and see where it goes. Click here for instructions.
To find drop-off locations for the Christmas shoe boxes, click here.
Samaritan’s Purse is a humanitarian international organization that does much more than the Operation Christmas Child. It is based on the biblical parable of the Good Samartian who took care of a man on the road even though his life might have been threatened. For more than 40 years, Samartian’s Purse has provided needs and medical assistance to most every country and nation in the world.
Click here for more information about Operation Christmas Child.
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