It's 30 years since Samaritan's Purse first started changing the world with shoeboxes of small gifts.
As Operation Christmas Child prepares to once again receive Christmas shoeboxes for children in developing nations, they’ll be celebrating the 30th year of the beloved worldwide event.
In its 30 year journey which began in 1993, the heart-warming initiative has collected and delivered more than 209 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 170 countries and territories.
The project is an initiative of the Christian relief organisation Samaritan’s Purse.
Working in partnership with local churches around the world, OCC aims to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children through the giving of a gift-filled shoebox and sharing the message of the Gospel.
Over the past 30 years of OCC, millions of children have taken part in The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program where children learn to follow Jesus and tell others about Him.
Packing a gift-filled shoebox is an easy and rewarding way to share the spirit of Christmas, beginning with selecting the gender and age of the child the gift is intended for, then packing the giftbox with items including a fun toy, clothing, non-liquid personal care items, and school supplies.
Operation Christmas Child then works with volunteers in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and Hamilton New Zealand during October and November each year, inspect the donated shoeboxes and preparing them for international shipment.
This year, shoeboxes will be collected at 300 designated drop-off locations around Australia and New Zealand between 23 October to 4 November.
For more information on how to pack a shoebox, or to get involved as a volunteer, head to OperationChristmasChild.org.au or OperationChristmasChild.org.nz, or follow Operation Christmas Child Australia & New Zealand on Facebook and Instagram.