This Week: Americans Join Global Christmas Project to Send Joy to Children Overseas

Operation Christmas Child Celebrates 25th Anniversary, Bringing Hope to More than 157 Million Children Since 1993

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, U.S. families are expressing their gratitude by giving back. Donors are filling shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items to send through Operation Christmas Child to children in need around the world. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

During Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week Nov. 12 – 19, U.S. residents can donate gift-filled shoeboxes at nearly 5,000 drop-off locations across the country. The Samaritan's Purse project, partnering with churches worldwide, will deliver these gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Operation Christmas Child, which has delivered shoebox gifts to more than 157 million children since 1993. 

"Receiving my shoebox gift was very special. I remember being so excited I could barely breathe!" said Dania Yadago, whose Middle Eastern family faced severe poverty during her childhood. Yadago shares her birthyear with Operation Christmas Child. "The same year I was born, God was starting a project that he knew would one day intersect my life at a time I desperately needed hope."

More than 150,000 U.S. volunteers including families, churches and other groups are joining forces to make a difference in the lives of children like Yadago. In 2018, Samaritan's Purse hopes to collect enough Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts to reach 11 million children.

"We believe these simple gifts have the ability to send a tangible message of hope to children facing difficult circumstances," said Randy Riddle, domestic director of Operation Christmas Child. "It is exciting to see people from so many states work together to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with millions of boys and girls around the world."

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through "Follow Your Box" and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child's specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

MEDIA NOTE: For complete media materials including high-resolution downloadable photos, visit samaritanspurse.org/occnewsroom.

-30-