New Book by Franklin Graham Celebrates the History of the World’s Largest Christmas Project

“Thank you for what you gave to my children—hope. We were devastated to lose our home and our jobs (from Hurricane Mitch). My children stopped school. But when the shoeboxes came, their hearts started again…”
-Excerpt from Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts

An unexpected phone call and an old shoebox. These were the inspiration of an adventure that has brought joy to 100 million children, as chronicled in the new book Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts (B&H Publishing, 2013).

Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham and co-author Donna Lee Toney take readers behind-the-scenes to discover the people and circumstances who made Operation Christmas Child the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. The book is available starting today in local retailers and online.

For the project's 20th anniversary, B&H Publishing teamed up with Graham and Operation Christmas Child to highlight the power of a simple gift. The book is a treasure chest of first-person stories from Graham, past shoebox recipients and others as readers journey through the pages from the first gift collection in 1993 to delivery of the 100 millionth shoebox just last year. The entertaining and informational vignettes follow gifts all across the globe to countries plagued by poverty, war, disease and natural disaster, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Russia and Sudan.

"The idea of children giving to children electrified families. . .  . Like a rocket, the idea spread like wildfire that seemed to burn off the dross of complacency," writes Graham. "Whether rich or poor, filling a shoebox seemed a realistic goal for anyone to reach, and the results were dynamite, kindling passionate generosity in people's hearts."

From the start of the project, the shoeboxes have demonstrated God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world. Packed and prepared by families, ministry partners and churches around the country, the gifts are delivered to children by any means necessary—boat, airplane, train and even elephant.

This book marks the first 20 years, but Operation Christmas Child efforts are still in full swing. Graham writes that there are "many more miles to travel and many more souls to reach—and we’ll continue telling A Story of Simple Gifts."

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