We are overjoyed to announce that this holiday season we will be collecting for Operation Christmas Child! Collections will take place from October 1st through November 16, 2016.
Last year alone, Samaritan’s Purse delivered more than 11 million Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children around the world. God used these simple gifts to change the lives of many boys and girls and their families. After the outreach events where children received their shoeboxes, 2.7 million went on to enroll in The Greatest Journey discipleship program. These children were discipled by trained local teachers, and they are now enthusiastically sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others. Simple shoebox gifts, packed with love and prayer, are tools for evangelism and discipleship in over 100 countries.
What is Operation Christmas Child (OCC)?
Operation Christmas Child is a project of the international relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse. Their mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. They ship these simple gifts outside the United States to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.
Can I find out where my shoebox is sent?
Yes! You can Follow Your Box and discover the destination of your shoebox by making the $7 shipping donation online. Just print and attach your unique shipping label to your shoebox gift.
Where can I get a box to fill?
You can use any shoebox, cardboard or plastic. We also have some of the official Operation Christmas Child red-and-green boxes available at both our Creekside and Research Forest locations!
How do I pack my shoebox gift?
Where do I drop off my packed shoebox gift?
You can drop off with our staff at either of our two locations, Research Forest or Creekside. Our Marketing Director, Emily, will be assisting with ensuring that all boxes have shipping labels, boy/girl labels, rubber bands to close them and most importantly that they are delivered before the end of national collection week to an official drop-off location.
Their shoebox is the first gift many children have ever received! The treasures and personal letters inside communicate that someone cares for them and gives them an opportunity to experience the love of God.
You can see why we’re so excited about Operation Christmas Child! Stop by our front desk in either of our two locations (Research Forest or Creekside) to get more information on our goal, learn how to pack a shoebox with your family, and discover other ways to get involved.
Join us in spreading God’s love one shoebox at a time!
“My name is Ayanda and I am from South Africa. I am 14-years-old. I want to thank God for what Operation Christmas Child has done in my life. I stay with my grandmother and I used to be very disobedient to her as well as my teachers at school. I had many friends who were a bad influence on me. One day I was invited to church and we received nice gifts from overseas. I was very happy. We were asked to come to church and attend a class of The Greatest Journey and I enjoyed it. I loved the story of creation because I learned I am made in the image of God and God loves me. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and I have never been happier than I am now. I now respect my grandmother and my teachers at school. I no longer enjoy being with a bad company of friends, but I pray for my old friends to come to Jesus like me. Thank you Operation Christmas Child for everything you do for all the children in the world.” — Ayanda
Ugandan Mom :
“We just finished an Operation Christmas Child outreach event here in Uganda. One of the parents from the community where the event took place came back to ask if we really gave a gift box to her daughter for free. I told her it was absolutely free! She said, ‘I think your God is real, and I need your God.’ Today is the second day she has come for Bible study. Please pray she finds Jesus and that she will be transformed by God’s love. There’s power in displaying God’s love in a tangible way!” — Operation Christmas Child International Volunteer
You could feel the excitement in the air! During a shoebox distribution in Fiji, one of our volunteers named Judy was in the middle of a church filled with hundreds of young children eagerly waiting to get their boxes. It was quite a scene as each child ripped open their box to discover the treasures inside. That is, each child except a little boy named Ajay. He sat at the end of a bench with his head down and his hands in his lap. Judy soon learned that Ajay was almost blind. His mom had recently died and Ajay had a lot to be sad about. When Judy sat down beside Ajay to help him open his shoebox, tears filled her eyes when she lifted the lid. The first thing visible was a magnifying glass. Judy knew that God had guided the gift-giver as the box was packed months before. Lifting the magnifier, Judy held it up to The Greatest Gift Gospel storybook Ajay held in front of his eyes. A smile crept across his face as he saw the colorful pages of the book and read that Jesus loves him. Ajay, a calm boy, showed his delight when he held the magnifying glass up to Judy and said, “Vinaka” (thank you). When the event was over, Ajay said a gentle good-bye, squeezing Judy’s hand. It was simple, yet profound expression of thanks from a child whose whole world was opened up through the power of a simple gift, sent with love from a stranger who cared and followed the leading of a still small voice.
On Ukara Island in Tanzania, The Greatest Journey soccer team has been formed because one boy got a soccer ball in his shoebox gift. When the children were invited back to the church to start The Greatest Journey follow-up discipleship course, they started playing ball when their lessons were finished. They then invited other boys not attending their class to join in. As they played together, The Greatest Journey students shared Jesus with them. Thirty children received Christ as a result! Now they have formed one big team from all the Ukara churches who participate in The Greatest Journey. The whole community is praising God for the course because it has blessed the lives of the children with great love and unity. Even nonChristian families are now allowing their children to come to church and through this the Gospel is being preached not only to children, but to the families as well—and it all started with a soccer ball in a shoebox gift!