Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child has been running for nineteen years and is an initiative of Samaritan’s Purse, a relief and development organisation operating in Eastern Europe, Africa and Central Asia.

Every year the UK sends over a million Christmas boxes to children from ages 2-14, in seriously disadvantaged circumstances in the most desolate of places where it would be easy for them to think that the world has forgotten them.

Individuals all over the country get a shoe box, cover it in wrapping paper and fill it with small gifts of toys and sweets, educational supplies, wash kits, gloves and hats, little trinkets etc appropriate to the age and gender of your selected category.   They give you a list of the sorts of gifts that are welcome and those that are inappropriate..  A donation of £2.50 to cover the logistical expenses is popped in an envelope and placed in the box (or you can donate online) and the box is then dropped at a collection point near you such as a school, college or shop.  These are then collected and taken to major distribution points and thence to the people in need.

It’s hard to imagine how little some of these children have; many are orphaned, living in terrible poverty or in refugee camps and every day is a struggle, and the boxes full of surprises give them hope and remind them that they have not been forgotten.  I always put a Christmas card in the box addressed to ‘My dear friend’ to let them know that a family in the UK is sending love to them and sharing a bit of our own good fortune.

There is still time to do a box.  This charity operates in the United States and other European countries – it’s not just in the UK.  We get so much pleasure from choosing the things to go in – why don’t you have a go?

If you’re not sure where your local collection point is log onto their website at www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk or telephone them on 0870 011 2002 / 01392 455036 and they will give you all the information you need.

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6 Comments

Filed under Children, Christmas, Slider

6 responses to “Operation Christmas Child

  1. Whilst I applaud humanitarian efforts from wherever they originate, Operation Christmas Child, ran by an organisation called Samaritans Purse, has come in for some critisism due to the religious literature it also distributes and for anti-islamic mutterings from it’s founder. The Co-Op will no longer associate themselves with them as well as various other organisations (see wikipedia). As a Christian organisation part of it’s mission is to spread the word of God along with the presents. I personally prefer a ‘no strings’ approach and buy Christmas gifts from Oxfam, they even sell goats!

    • wartimehousewife

      Hi Kyla. They make no secret that they are a Christian organisation and they say that ‘where appropriate’ they will hand out literature. I guess the problem is that whereas I’m sure most people would stick closely to the ‘appropriate’ and ‘reasonable’ code, there are going to be some who are not so sensitive.

      Even the more established charities get flack from certain quarters and it wasn’t so long ago that Oxfam was in the firing line for such a huge percentage of their income going on administration costs.

      Ultimately, we all support charities which feel comfortable to us – it always makes me laugh that the landlocked Midlands is one of the most successful fundraising regions for Lifeboats for example!

      I just think it’s a really good way of children connecting positively with other children at a time when most people in the West have far more than enough.

  2. Sintya

    I am packing mine! Check out this fun video of volunteers in NYC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WAGsXp7YNs

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Sintya and thanks for sending that video. It’s fun choosing the presents for the boxes isn’t it? Hope you keep reading.

  3. Not so long ago I too was packing the boxes with my children and appreciate the sentiment, joy and perspective it gave my children. As a secular humanist (according to a faith quiz I once completed) and knowing what I now know about Samaritans Purse I would have made an informed choice not to participate in Operation Christmas Child – however I will stand up for anyone – Christian or otherwise – to exercise their free will to participate in whatever charity they choose. Have fun.

  4. Joy

    My boys and I fill one of these every year for a boy about their age. They love to choose gifts to give to him and we include a letter. This year we thought we’d add a photo of the boys, too. It is a good way to share with children that have so much less than we do.

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