Operation Christmas Child Helps Kids in Need

Adisyn Powers, Staff Reporter

Operation Christmas Child is a fundraiser through the Christian organization Samaritan’s Purpose which gives Christmas gifts to children around the world. Operation Christmas Child or “OCC” starts collecting gifts around October and goes through late November. The fundraiser is found in many Christian churches and on the Samaritans Purpose website. 

Operation Christmas Child started when Franklin Graham the president of Samaritans Purpose got a call from a man in England who asked if Graham would be interested in filling shoe boxes with gifts to send to the children who were in war-torn Bosnia. When he was asked, Christmas was still months away but Gramah willingly agreed, when Thanksgiving came around the idea was forgotten about until he got a call. The call was asking about the details of the gifts he promised to have. Graham reached out to one of his friends who was a Pastor at Ross Rhoads of Calvary Church and asked if he could help. The Sunday aftward the Pastor showed the people of his church the idea of filling a shoe box and how to do it.  Pastor Rhoads encouraged his people to buy simple gifts and fill a shoe box but also to include a letter in it. After a couple of weeks the church had 11,000 shoeboxes filling up their church. On account of the generosity and gifts sent in from Canada Samaritan’s Purpose was able to send out 28,000 shoebox gifts to children. Throughout all the gifts that were sent the organization was able to spread the message of Jesus’s birth to all the children and their families. 

Each year since, shoeboxes have been filled with not just toys but school supplies and hygiene items. Since 1993, over 198 million kids in more than 170 countries have received a shoebox gift from Operation Christmas Child. Most of these gifts the children receive are not just something for them to be happy over but are most of the kids first gifts ever. 

How is this all possible, with the crazy large amount of gifts sent? This is all possible by all the year-round and short-term volunteers. There are over 9,000 year-round and 80,000 short-term volunteers, who help spread the word and serve in more than 4,000 drop-off locations.

If interested in donating or learning more about Operation Christmas child, local churches and pastors have information along with the Samaritan’s Purpose website.