UK shoebox response praised
The UK response to a shoebox appeal for needy children around the world has been praised.
Of the almost 10 million gift-filled shoeboxes collected as part of Operation Christmas Child, well over 900,000 shoeboxes were donated by individuals, groups, churches, schools and workplaces in the UK.
Operation Christmas Child is run by the charity Samaritan’s Purse, whose UK executive director is Simon Barrington, a member of Burlington Baptist Church in Ipswich.
He said the charity wants to express its gratitude to the 'hundreds of thousands of people, children and adults alike, who donated shoeboxes, and recognise and affirm the contribution made by many thousands of volunteers, and supporting organisations, up and down the country, who made this achievement possible.'
'We’re so thankful for the amazing generosity of people in the UK,' he said. 'We can only imagine the joy a child feels when they receive a shoebox, packed with gifts, from someone they don’t know but someone who cared enough for them to know that God loves them and He’s not forgotten them at Christmas.'
Operation Christmas Child has been run over the past 23 years, and in that time has sent more than 113 million boxes to children in over 130 countries. As well as the UK Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are collected in the UK, United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, New Zealand and Spain. Each box contains school supplies, toys, necessity items and notes of encouragement to let hurting children know God loves them and they are not forgotten.
Simon said the demand is 'huge and is increasing, year to year.' 'I want to encourage more people in the UK to get involved with this amazing programme, so that we can reach even more children with shoeboxes packed with gifts and share Jesus with them; He is the reason for the season.'
This year, for the first time, gift-filled shoeboxes were sent from donors in the UK to children in Rwanda. In 2014, Rwanda will mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide that saw almost one million people killed in 100 days.
To find out more go to: www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk