Operation Christmas Child

The Gift that Makes a World of a Difference


Rebekah Hafner

Operation Christmas Child is a program started by Samaritan’s Purse. It started in 1993 by Franklin Graham for the homeless, injured, and hopeless children of war-torn Bosnia. Now it has grown into a worldwide operation with hundreds of volunteers and thousands of recipients. Every year, children all over the world are provided with a shoe box filled with toys, school supplies and other such gifts. The shoe boxes are given by people from churches, schools, families and other groups. Now, more then 103 million shoe boxes are collected and delivered to more than 150 countries, each one representing a chance to spread the Gospel.

Families, groups, schools and churches pack a shoe box full of necessities and toys for boys or girls ages 2-14. The boxes get taken to one of the 5,000 different drop-off spots across the country open November 18-25. The volunteers at the drop-off spots pack the shoe boxes up to be taken to one of the sorting centers where it will then be shipped off to one of the hundreds of recipient countries. The shoe boxes are distributed to the thousands of children around the world in countries that don’t normally get to have a Christmas gift.

My church is one of the drop-off spots here in Illinois. We have gathered 2,106 shoe boxes this year. Helping with Operation Christmas Child has been an amazing experience for me over the years. It truly is a gift that makes a world of a difference.