Operation Christmas Child seeks to reach 100 million gift milestone.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has reached millions of children around the world, distributing shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies and personal effects along with a gospel tract where possible. This year program operator Samaritan’s Purse hopes to top the 100 million shoe box distribution threshold and has already issued its usual mid-summer call for processing center volunteers.
Shoe boxes are packed annually by millions of people in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and at least six other nations. In the U.S., Samaritan’s Purse operates six processing centers with more than 65,000 volunteers helping to expedite the movement of donated gifts before and during the Christmas holiday season. Gifts may arrive in time for Christmas or be distributed at other times of the year. OCC distribution currently extends to more than 100 countries.
The six processing centers are located in Boone and Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, Minneapolis, Orange County in California, and in Honolulu. Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age and can consist of a family, a church or an organization. The official sign up start time begins on Monday, August 6 at 8 a.m. EDT. You can call 1-800-442-9120 to request a reservation; Samaritan’s Purse asks that you provide multiple options for dates and times to serve when you make your call.
Churches across the country hold shoe box packing parties or events where people pack boxes together. In California, for example, Glendora Friends Church holds packing parties on the last Friday evening in July, August and September, “…filling shoeboxes with love and surprises for God’s children around the world!”
Samaritan’s Purse offers campaign ideas to help churches, groups, families, businesses and schools coordinate such events.
Items and Collection
Shoe boxes can be packed with a variety of items including stuffed animals, silly bands, toothpaste and a toothbrush, hard candies, pens and pencils, writing paper, books, a flashlight with batteries, decorations, a personal note, crayons, playing cards, a doll, toy jewelry and much more. You can download a copy of the OCC gift list too.
The national collection week varies slightly each year. For 2012, the U.S. will be collecting boxes beginning on November 12 and running through Nov. 19, 2012. In Canada, collection week is Nov. 19-25. Check your home country’s collection dates with your local OCC website.
You can also follow your shoe box online and learn about the ministry’s related discipleship program.
Media courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse.
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