U.S. Economy not Stopping Family Traditions of Giving to Needy Kids Worldwide
Operation Christmas Child - The World’s Largest Christmas Project - to Help More Than 8 Million Children in 100 Countries
BOONE, N.C., Nov. 13, 2008—Despite the "weakest spending environment that the U.S. economy has faced in 17 years," families are continuing a tradition of giving. They're joining Operation Christmas Child in the effort to help needy kids suffering from natural disaster, war, poverty and famine - with a shoe box.
"Operation Christmas Child has become such a tradition for me and my 7-year-old son," said Nancy Burch, a single mother living in Manhattan and a recent college graduate who is struggling to find a job. Burch packed 35 shoe box gifts in 2007 and, despite her current economic challenges, plans to pack another 35 this year. "What would I be communicating to my son if I told him we can't pack shoe box gifts this year? We make it happen by cutting back in places we can."
Families across the United States and in 10 other countries are partnering with Operation Christmas Child to participate in a simple and inexpensive way to send gift-filled shoe boxes to more than 8 million needy children worldwide.
"It's in giving that we are fulfilled...it gives us a purpose in life," said Michigan resident Dianna Young, who is a stay-at-home mom raising four teenage boys. "We can all find a way to pack a shoe box gift....whether it's giving up a cup of coffee to buy a box of crayons or asking business to donate pencils or notepads."
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international relief organization Samaritan's Purse, starts with an empty shoe box that is packed with simple items most people take for granted - toothpaste, small toys and school supplies - then wrapped and hand-delivered to hurting children in more than 100 countries. For many kids who receive shoe box gifts, it will be the first gift they have ever received.
"Sometimes we all struggle to just ‘get by,' but I remember these poor children in poverty-stricken countries who will find hope in my simple shoe box gift," said Jenny Holguin, a single mom living in Manhattan who started packing shoe box gifts four years ago. "Helping children in countries who value things like a toothbrush really puts our lives, and our economic hardships, in perspective."
Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, has collected and hand-delivered more than 61 million shoe box gifts to hurting kids in some 130 countries since 1993. To volunteer or learn how to pack and send an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift, visit www.samaritanspurse.org. National Collection Week is Nov. 17-24; however, shoe box gifts are collected year-round.
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