Today: US Hurricane Victims “Pay It Forward” to Help Children of Storm-Ravaged Barbuda

Hurricane Harvey Survivors Deliver Early Christmas Gifts to Barbudan Children

In the wake of a vicious hurricane season followed by national tradegies, U.S. families have a better understanding of fear and suffering, as well as compassion. Today, Mark and Cherry Brumbelow, whose home in Wild Peach, Texas, was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, are putting aside their own needs to make sure children from storm-ravaged Barbuda know they are loved and not forgotten. The Brumbelows traveled more than 2,000 miles to deliver Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts—filled with hygiene items, school supplies and fun toys—to every Barbudan child who has taken refuge in Antigua after losing their homes to Hurricane Irma earlier this fall.

"When you've lost everything, small acts of kindness make a big difference," said Mark Brumbelow, whose church of 30 people packed more than 8,000 shoebox gifts this year. "We have been blessed and now want to be a blessing to children whose circumstances are far worse than our own. Every child deserves to experience the joy of Christmas, regardless of the season."

The Brumbelows' commitment to help children in need is echoing across the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers coast-to-coast are packing gift-filled shoeboxes for children around the world, including young hurricane victims. During National Collection Week (Nov. 13 – 20), nearly 5,000 drop-off sites will be open in the U.S. to receive shoebox gifts. From there, the shoebox gifts will make the long journey overseas, traveling by any means necessary—boat, plane, train and even elephant—until they reach the hands of children living in extreme poverty or affected by war, disease, disaster and famine. In 2017, Operation Christmas Child, a project of international relief organization Samaritan's Purse, hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 12 million children.

While Operation Christmas Child recognizes the importance of restoring hope to the most vulnerable victims of these storms, children, Samaritan's Purse actively continues to meet immediate physical needs. Samaritan’s Purse disaster response teams are helping thousands of families devastated by hurricanes in the Caribbean, Texas and on the coast of Florida. The North Carolina-based organization has airlifted more than 753 tons of emergency supplies to the devastated Caribbean islands. Through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan's Purse aims to make sure young hurricane victims know they are cared for this Christmas season. 

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions 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 146 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.

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