Operation Christmas Child is a worldwide children's project of Samaritan's Purse that uses simple gift-filled shoe boxes containing school supplies, toys, necessity items and notes of encouragement to let hurting children know God loves them and they are not forgotten.
In 2012, Operation Christmas Child expects to reach a milestone - delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. To achieve this, volunteers are leading a nationwide drive enlisting people to help give joy to needy children this Christmas through this simple project.
Now through Christmas 2012
Right now, kids, families, churches, scout troops, schools, civic clubs and
businesses are filling their shoe boxes. Samaritan’s Purse will be collecting gift-filled shoe boxes at more than 3,500 drop-off sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico during National Collection Week, Nov. 12-19, 2012. To find the nearest drop-off location, call (800) 353-5949 or www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Shoe box gifts are also received throughout the year at Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
After Nov. 19, donors can pack a shoe box through "Build a Box," an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send shoe box gifts to even more children.
Millions of hurting children who are victims of poverty, natural disaster, war, terrorism and famine receive Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts. For some of these boys and girls, it is the first gift they have ever received. Through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ, these children learn that they are loved and not forgotten.
Generous kids, families, businesses and organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and 10 additional countries expect to fill more than
9 million shoe boxes with gifts for needy children in 2012 to help surpass the 100 million milestone.
Some 140,000 volunteers in the United States, bringing the total to more than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, will then help prepare the
boxes for transport to distant lands. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, contact the regional office in your area by calling(800) 353-5949 or by visiting www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts are collected in the United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Samaritan's Purse and its national partners will hand-deliver each of the millions of shoe box gifts to children in more than 100 countries on six continents.
Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology that allows donors to "follow" their box to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register shoe box gifts and find out to which country they are delivered, visit the Follow Your Box web page at www.samaritanspurse.org.
By land, air, sea and elephant
After individuals pack shoe box gifts and take them to more than 3,500 drop-off locations, the shoe boxes are transported to processing centers where they are prepared for overseas shipment. These seven major centers are located across the United States in Boone, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Minneapolis; Atlanta; Denver; Orange County, Calif.; and Honolulu.
The shoe box gifts are then loaded onto trucks, sea containers and cargo planes bound for the far reaches of the earth.
Once the gifts are transported to countries around the world, Samaritan's Purse works with volunteer ministry partners and pastors to distribute them by trucks, trains, boats and even yaks and camels.
In 1993, Samaritan's Purse kicked-off Operation Christmas Child in the United States with just 28,000 shoe box gifts. That number soared to one million gifts collected in a single year in 1997 and 5 million collected in 2001. This year, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9 million shoe box gifts and surpass the mark of reaching 100 million boys and girls since the start of the project.
- If the 100 million shoe boxes expected to be collected since 1993 were stacked on top of each other, they would stand 1,722 times higher than Mt. Everest.
- If all the children who received an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift stood hand-in-hand, they would circle the globe twice.
- U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have all packed Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts for children in need.
- Samaritan's Purse is working in some 100 countries providing aid to victims of war, natural disaster, famine, disease and poverty.