Shoebox response so far 'overwhelming'
As momentum builds for Samaritan’s Purse to reach their goal of delivering one million gift-filled shoeboxes this Christmas, the charity is calling on more people to take part
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children in over 150 countries.
This year’s campaign, called ‘One In A Million’, wants to see a million more children reached, as well as recognise the efforts of all those who make it happen.
Giving more than 11 million children a Christmas shoebox takes a massive, year-round global effort and cannot be done without generous volunteers across the UK, explained Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington, a member of Burlington Baptist Church in Ipswich.
'Already the response of people getting involved this year has been overwhelming,' Simon said.
'However we need many more people to be ‘one in a million’ and lovingly pack a shoebox for a child in need this Christmas and show them that someone cares about them and is thinking about them.'
One example of the long-term impact on children, who’ve received a shoebox over the past two decades, is Yuliya (pictured) who recalls the moment she opened her precious box in a Central Asian country 14 years ago.
'When I lifted the lid on my purple plastic shoebox, the first thing I saw was a stuffed dog. I was filled with exuberant joy! I just remember hugging it.
'It was my new best friend, my newfound treasure.
'I still have my stuffed dog 14 years later. That’s a glimpse of how much the shoebox meant to me because it was packed with love and prayer. It wasn’t just any dog. I could tell she specifically chose that dog for me and wanted to use it to communicate God’s love.'
Read the story of Tonbridge Baptist Church's involvement with Operation Christmas Child here
Visit www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk for resources and information, including what to put in your shoebox, how to pack it and where to drop it off
The deadline for submitting shoeboxes is 18 November
In addition the charity wants to hear your story: Where and when did you pack it? what did you include? Was there something particularly special you remember about your shoebox? Are you involved in this year's campaign? www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/yourshoeboxstory