100 Million Struggling Children Have Now Received the Gift of Hope Through a Simple Shoebox

Thousands of Volunteers from Around the World Gather in Orlando, Florida, to Celebrate Relief Group's 100 Millionth Shoebox Gift

Volunteers from around the world are joining Samaritan's Purse on April 6 in Orlando, Florida, with 100 Million Reasons to Celebrate. The music-packed event marks a major milestone for the Operation Christmas Child project—reaching 100 million children in need with gift-filled shoeboxes since 1993.

"We are so excited to be celebrating the 100 million children who have experienced the power of a simple gift through Operation Christmas Child," said Randy Riddle, director of Operation Christmas Child U.S. "We are grateful for our dedicated volunteers; without them we would not have been able to share God’s hope and love with so many children around the world."

Each year, Operation Christmas Child encourages people to fill shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items and drop them off at local collection points during National Collection Week in November. The shoebox gifts are then delivered to children in need in more than 100 countries. For many of these kids, the shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. 

On April 6, people are invited to join Operation Christmas Child for a celebration concert at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. 100 Million Reasons to Celebrate features music from three-time Grammy Award winner Michael W. Smith, Grammy nominee Matthew West, country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, along with Dennis Agajanian, the Tommy Coomes Band and the African Children's Choir. Tickets to the event can be purchased online at samaritanspurse.org. Discounts are offered for church leaders and church groups interested in participating.

Sending hope to millions of needy children is a full-time effort, and anyone can participate. National Collection Week for shoebox gifts is Nov. 18 – 25, 2013, but it's not too early to get involved. Shoeboxes are collected throughout the year at Samaritan's Purse's headquarters in Boone.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need in more than 130 countries.