This week, U.S. children, families, churches, schools, scout troops, and civic organizations are partaking in Operations Christmas Child, an annual project of the international Christian relief organization called Samaritan’s Purse.
This project is going to be a worldwide event of this year’s holiday season, where people from other developed countries join to bring hope to about seven million children of the developing countries by sending shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts.
The shoeboxes will be sent to children around the world who are suffering from the war, terrorism, disease, famine, hunger, and other natural disasters.
Ministry president Franklin Graham says that the project target are “kids with no hope” and he believes the gifts given through Operation Christmas Child would bring joy into the lives of the needy children.
"Most of the children we give these boxes to are kids who have really lived in poverty in the worst way, and the gift brings such joy," Graham says, "here comes this box and somebody with love, giving them a gift and bringing, all of a sudden, a breath of hope into their life."
The gifts will go to children in 95 countries, including 80,000 to needy children in Sudan.
Graham says the project requires lots of volunteers and lots of prayer. "It's a global effort," he says, "and it's getting bigger every year."
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has served children living in difficult conditions with more than 24 million shoebox gifts in more than 100 countries.
Graham describes Operation Christmas Child as an intense multinational collaboration, with lots of volunteers and ministry staffers working together in efforts to reach as many kids as possible with the truth of God's love.
"When you get people in 11 different countries, millions of people, praying for children around the world, I believe God's going to hear those prayers, and He's going to answer those prayers," Graham says.