This Week: U.S. Volunteers Pay It Forward to 10 Million Children in Need, Including ISIS Victims

Nov. 17 – 24: National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts

As Americans gear up for another Thanksgiving, many are expressing their gratitude by sharing their blessings with children facing poverty, including Iraqi and Syrian children who have escaped brutal Islamic State group attacks and are now living in refugee camps.

For months, U.S. residents, families and groups have been filling empty shoeboxes with items such as toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement. Now through Nov. 24, they will drop their lovingly packed shoebox gifts at one of more than 4,000 collection points in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project of its kind, will deliver those gift-filled shoeboxes using any means necessary—boat, plane, dog sled and even elephant—to reach the hands of needy children. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Samaritan's Purse will airlift 60,000 of the gift-filled shoeboxes from Baltimore for special delivery to Kurdish-controlled regions of northern Iraq, where they will work with local partners to deliver the gifts to Iraqi and Syrian children living in refugee camps and surrounding areas.

"One of the best ways to show we are thankful is to give to those less fortunate," said Randy Riddle, domestic director for Operation Christmas Child. "The children who receive these gifts have so little. For many, the shoebox will be the first gift they ever receive. Receiving a shoebox gift can have a lifelong impact on a child who longs to experience joy and hope."

Anyone can participate now in this life-changing project for children around the world. For more information about how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 800.353.5949 or visit samaritanspurse.org. Although this week is National Collection Week, shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone. Participants can also build a shoebox through an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send a gift to a child in one of the hardest-to-reach countries.

Using special tracking technology, participants can follow their boxes online and discover the country in which their gifts will be delivered to children in need. To register a shoebox gift, use the online donation form at samaritanspurse.org.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham and currently working in West Africa to fight Ebola. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 113 million children in more than 150 countries. In 2014, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 10 million children.


MEDIA NOTE: For complete media materials, including fact sheets and high-resolution, downloadable photos, visit samaritanspurse.org/newsroom.


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