Volunteers with Operation Christmas Child are putting the finishing touches on millions of gift shoeboxes before sending them on their way to children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child – an outreach of Samaritan's Purse – operates eight processing centers across the U.S. Both paid and volunteer staff work between mid-November and mid-December to inspect and process the gift boxes for international shipping. After being inspected and processed, the boxes – filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items – will make their way to children all over the world.
Operation Christmas Child's Dana Williams says depending on how far they must travel, some of the gifts will actually be delivered by Christmas. "Primarily those in Central or South America or Eastern Europe – that's where we'll see most often they're able to be delivered by Christmas," she explains.
Others take much longer, she adds. "Once they land in the countries, some gifts have to make their way into some rural areas, sometimes by way of some very poor roads," she tells OneNewsNow.
And even though it may be spring before some of the presents arrive, she shares that "once these shoebox gifts are delivered into the hands of these children it's Christmas – it's Christmas! And just the smiles and the joy on their faces, it's amazing."
In addition, the shoebox gifts are given to children through local churches with an opportunity to share about Jesus Christ and God's love. Officials with Samaritan's Purse are prayerfully hoping for nine-million boxes to be collected from the United States alone.