Americans Send School Supplies to Children Overseas

UNITED STATES Kids Use Back-to-School Shopping to Send Hope to Children Overseas

This year, 8-year-old Floridian Lexie Ellis is stocking up pencils, crayons and notebooks as she prepares to head back to school, but not everything is for her backpack. Ellis is looking beyond her own checklist to collect school supplies for children living in poverty overseas.

Throughout the month, U.S. families fill empty shoeboxes with school supplies, alongside hygiene items and fun toys. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse, will deliver these shoebox gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

"We often take for granted how lucky we are to have easy access to basic school supplies in America, but this is not the case for many children around the world," said Ellis' mom, Cassie, who has participated in the project for a decade. "These simple items, like notebooks and paper, will equip children to succeed in the classroom while reminding them that God loves them, and they are not forgotten."

For many children, access to these simple items is essential to an education, such as Luis Gonzales, a shoebox recipient raised by a single mother in an impoverished area of Panama City, Panama.

"I know what it is like to not have enough money for basic school supplies," said Gonzalez, whose experience is not uncommon for many children living in poverty. One day, Gonzalez received a gift-filled shoebox from Operation Christmas Child and found it filled with the school supplies he needed. "My shoebox gift gave me the opportunity to pursue an education and taught me to never lose hope. These gifts can truly impact a child's life forever," said Gonzalez.

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.

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