Fact Sheet: Operation Christmas Child

What is Operation Christmas Child?

  • The Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child collects shoebox gifts—filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys—and delivers them to children in need around the world to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way.


  • Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project of its kind, has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.
  • For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.
  • In 2017, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 12 million children.
  • Shoebox gifts are collected in the U.S., Australia, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain and the U.K.
  • More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide—with more than 150,000 of those in the United States—are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.
  • Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Samaritan's Purse currently works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution.


  • Individuals, families, churches and groups fill empty shoeboxes school supplies, hygiene items, notes of encouragement and fun toys, such as a doll or soccer ball.
  • During National Collection Week (Nov. 13 – 20, 2017), Samaritan's Purse will collect the gift-filled shoeboxes at some 5,000 drop-off locations in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. 
  • Operation Christmas Child also offers a year-round opportunity to pack personalized shoeboxes online. Go to samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select toys and gift items, write a note of encouragement, and "pack" them in a shoebox. These gifts will go to children in some of the hardest-to-reach countries around the world.
  • Shoebox gifts are prepared for overseas shipment at eight major processing centers across the U.S.—Atlanta; Baltimore; Boone, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Denver; Minneapolis; and Orange County, California.
  • Participants can follow their box online to discover where in the world their gift is delivered by using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org/occ.


  • More than 11 million children have participated in The Greatest Journey, Operation Christmas Child's follow-up program that is offered to many children who receive shoebox gifts. 
  • The Greatest Journey is implemented through a global church network. This 12-lesson discipleship program teaches children about God’s amazing love and guides them through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

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