Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, has been spreading joy and love to children around the world with their gift-filled shoeboxes. Set to deliver their 200-millionth shoebox this year, Operation Christmas Child has grown to make a measurable impact on children in need worldwide. According to News Channel Nebraska, volunteers in Sidney are taking advantage of back-to-school savings to begin filling their shoeboxes for the upcoming season.
Sidney resident and volunteer Cheryl MacKenzie is shopping now for school supplies, hygiene items, and other toys to put in the shoeboxes that will be sent to children in need. MacKenzie shared that she is shopping for items that many people take for granted, and she uses this as an opportunity to teach her grandchildren about the importance and meaning of giving to others. One shoebox recipient, Analyn, who was from the Philippines, shared how much of a difference it made in her life to open a shoebox filled with crayons, colored pencils, and a notebook. With her family not having the means to buy such items, Analyn shared that it was not just the first gift she had ever received, but she couldn’t believe that she had something she really wanted, that being the supplies she saw her classmates using at school.
According to Samaritan’s Purse, since 1993, over 198 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, and that number is expected to reach a new milestone this year of 200 million children. Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan’s Purse, said that “every box is an opportunity to reach a child with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” and with each box comes the miracle of hope, love, and faith.
Spreading joy to children around the world is what makes Operation Christmas Child a real blessing for all involved. From those who give to those who receive, the shoeboxes are not just gifts, but symbols of hope and love that reach into the hearts of every child. With the thoughtful packing of each shoebox, each time one is opened the compassion and love of others is the most prevalent and important gift that children receive.