This Week: U.S. Families Help Give 9.8 Million Children in Need a Reason to Smile

Celebrating Its 20th Anniversary, Operation Christmas Child Collects Shoebox Gifts for Children Overseas During National Collection Week—Nov. 18 – 25

This holiday season, millions of people across the U.S. and around the world are filling empty shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for 9.8 million impoverished children.

During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18 – 25, more than 3,700 collection sites across the country will receive the packed boxes. The shoebox gifts are then processed, prepared and delivered to suffering children in more than 100 countries using whatever means necessary—trains, airplanes, boats, elephants, bikes and even dog sleds.

Even small items we often take for granted in the U.S.—soap, a toothbrush and pencils—can bring excitement and hope to a child living in extreme poverty overseas,” said Randy Riddle, U.S. director of Operation Christmas Child. “For 20 years we have witnessed how a simple gift has the opportunity to change a child’s life.”

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected more than 100 million shoebox gifts and delivered them to children in need overseas. A project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, Operation Christmas Child is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. Through simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received. 

Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child. The time to pack a shoebox gift is now! 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

An online giving tool also conveniently allows anyone to build a box. By visiting the project’s website at, participants can select a child’s age and gender, shop through an online selection of gifts, virtually pack an empty shoebox, and finish it off by writing a note of encouragement. Operation Christmas Child volunteers will pack the shoebox gifts and ship them on behalf of the donors.

Using special tracking technology, participants can follow their shoebox and discover the country in which their gift will be delivered to a child in need. To register a shoebox gift, use the donation form online.

MEDIA NOTE: For complete media materials, including fact sheets and high-resolution, downloadable photos, visit