American Idol’s Scotty McCreery Joins U.S. Kids to Make Christmas a Reality for 8.5 Million Children

Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week Is Nov. 14-21 

For years, 2011 American Idol winner Scotty McCreery has filled shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and necessity items for kids who otherwise might not get a Christmas present. This year, McCreery is using his musical platform to encourage fans across America to participate in Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project of its kind.

"I was raised to help kids that need it—to help kids in foreign countries that don't have the blessings I have," said 18-year-old McCreery. "I want to use this platform I have for good things....Operation Christmas Child means so much to me because it can influence the lives of kids. Through Operation Christmas Child, we can share the love of Christ with as many people as need it." 

Operation Christmas Child uses simple gift-filled shoeboxes to let hurting children know that they are loved. Kids, families, groups, businesses and schools pack and wrap empty shoeboxes with items most people take for granted, including toothpaste, toys and pencils, and drop them off at one of the 3,200 collection sites in all 50 states. The shoeboxes are then processed and prepared to be delivered to children worldwide using whatever means necessary—sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, helicopters, boats, elephants and dog sleds. 

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected 86 million shoebox gifts and hand-delivered them to impoverished children in more than 130 countries. This year, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 8.5 million gift-filled shoeboxes.

"In the United States, we're aiming to contribute 5.8 million shoebox gifts to the worldwide collection total," said Randy Riddle, domestic director of Operation Christmas Child. "It's a big goal, but I believe we can reach it. U.S. kids realize that as tough as things are here in the United States, there are children around the world who have so much less. This small sacrifice can have eternal impact on a needy child."

Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child right now. National Collection Week is Nov. 14-21. For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, or to find the nearest drop-off site, call 800.353.5949 or visit

Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology that allows donors to "follow" their shoebox to find out the destination country where it will be delivered to a child in need. 

Operation Christmas Child is a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham. While Samaritan's Purse works to meet critical physical needs, such as clean water, health care and food, Operation Christmas Child addresses a need for which children are just as desperate—the need to have hope and feel loved.