Photo Courtesy Operation Christmas Child
As schools nationwide prepare to open their doors for another year of
learning, most parents are shopping for back-to-school bargains using a
school-issued supply list as their guide. But this year, U.S. kids are
thinking beyond their own backpacks and buying supplies for kids they
have never met.
Americans are stocking up on items for Operation
Christmas Child—a massive year-round project of international
Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse—where
participants fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items
and letters of encouragement for kids overseas.
“I love getting
extra notebooks, colored pencils and erasers for my kids to pack in our
shoe box gifts,” said San Diego-area mom of three and Operation
Christmas Child volunteer Melanie Ryden. “During back-to-school sales I
can get items for great prices, which enables our family to help more
children in need.”
This shoe box packing effort, requiring months
of organization and preparation, will reach some 8.5 million kids who
are suffering because of natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism,
famine and poverty. For many of these children, the shoe box will be the
first gift they have ever received. Since 1993, Operation Christmas
Child has hand-delivered shoe box gifts to more than 86 million hurting
children in some 130 countries.