Back-to-school shopping is not just a time to fill book bags and closets, it is also an opportunity to fill shoe boxes to help children in need around the world. Through Operation Christmas Child, families can make a real difference to a child in need by simply keeping the box from their new school shoes and filling it with small gifts. Operation Christmas Child plans to hand-deliver shoe box gifts to more than 8 million struggling children in 100 countries this year. An effort that massive means the project needs the help of Juneau families, not only during the holidays, but also right now.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, encourages volunteers to fill simple shoe boxes with toys, necessity items, school supplies, candy and hand-written notes of encouragement. The gifts are then shared with children worldwide who are suffering because of natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism, famine and poverty. For many of these children, the shoe box gift will be the first gift they have ever received.
Last year, Juneau families packed over 2,000 shoe boxes that were sent to needy children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child is not limited to just a few weeks a year. It is a year-round project, requiring months of organization and preparation to reach millions of kids around the world. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has distributed shoe box gifts to more than 77 million hurting children in some 130 countries.
Juneau residents can help by enlisting families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take advantage of back-to-school sales by collecting discounted school supplies for shoe box gifts. Then, fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoe box packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org.