Operation Christmas Child began in 1993, with the mission to provide God’s love in a triangle way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The event is founded by Samaritan’s Purse. Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.
Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through his son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
They take up and collect gifts during National Collection Week, Nov. 16-23, to fill shoeboxes with gifts such as toys, school supplies, hygiene items and give them to children across the globe.
In their early beginnings in 1993, they received enough gifts from local volunteers, as well as Canada, and were able to send 28,000 shoebox gifts to children. Since then the number of shoebox gifts they were able to send out has risen from 100 million in 2012 to 178 plus million to the present day.
“Every box is an opportunity to reach a child with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse, said.
Tens of thousands of local church officials across the globe lead the volunteer efforts, reaching out into the surrounding communities to find partnerships with individuals, as well as organizations to lend a hand towards their generous efforts.
Two of the partnering organizations are Tech’s Service Learning and Nursing Departments. The service learning departments third consecutive year assisting Samaritans with this event and the nursing department has also been contributing to the cause for many years.
This year both departments decided to join forces and give one mass collective effort to ensure they give the children the best possible shoebox gifts. They have already begun collecting gift items to fill the shoeboxes with. There are collection boxes placed in the Roaden University Center (RUC) on the first floor and at the Tech food pantry.
These locations are set up through the entire month of October to Nov. 17th once National Collection Week begins. Also on Nov. 17 there will be a drive-thru drop off event at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the RUC for anyone in the surrounding area wanting to contribute items to volunteer’s who will be set up outside. Volunteers will retrieve their donations as well as sign-off on volunteer hours if needed.
The departments will be hosting a packing party on the quad from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 19 where all donations will be placed into shoeboxes by all willing participants and volunteers. Volunteers are also welcome to sponsor shipment boxes for 9$.
Samaritan purse is making adjustments to help protect the health of those involved in shoebox collection and processing during the Operation Christmas Child festivities. Adjustments include the standard temp checks, mask requirements at drop-off locations, hand sanitizing stations set up in facilities and social distancing guidelines.
Also, all items are asked to be placed into clear plastic bags so the distribution process may run more efficiently. In the distribution process volunteers will fish through hall donations and ensure there are no prohibited items.
Anyone looking to contribute may find gift item suggestions and guidelines at samaritanspurse.org.