Operation Christmas Child: COVID-19 Updates

– Stay updated on current information from our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Landing Page, including specific COVID-19 updates.

– Another great option to share God’s love is to build a shoebox online. It’s a convenient and personal way to give shoebox gifts directly from home.

– Listen and learn more about Operation Christmas Child from previous On the Ground with Samaritan’s Purse podcast episodes “Operation Christmas Child in Ecuador” and “Processing Center for Operation Christmas Child”.

– Want to know more about our work in Sudan? Read how Samaritan’s Purse Joins Fight Against COVID-19 in Sudan.

Show Notes

Although COVID-19 has disrupted many things, it has not stopped Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse has shifted its processes to continue sending gift-filled shoeboxes to kids around the world. In this informative episode, Kristy Graham takes you behind the scenes to hear how leadership, staff, and volunteers are praying over the 2020 season and preparing to send millions of shoeboxes to children around the world.

The episode opens with sounds of an Operation Christmas Child distribution from 2019. Kristy and the podcast team traveled to Quito, Ecuador, to experience the joy radiating from boys and girls opening their shoebox gifts. Although parts of the ministry may operate differently due to the pandemic, Samaritan’s Purse is determined to continue delivering joy through Operation Christmas Child.

“The ministry is doing its best to equip every moving part in order to send shoeboxes to children around the world.” – Kristy Graham

Kristy’s first guest in the episode is Randy Riddle, the senior director of Operation Christmas Child domestic. Throughout their conversation, Randy gives updates of how the ministry is navigating COVID-19 guidelines and developing contingency plans. He also reflects on God’s faithfulness over the years. God’s hand has guided the ministry through difficult years before like Hurricane Katrina, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the economic downturn in 2008. Yet, through those seemingly impossible years, God made a way. Randy reiterates the same message: children always need hope.

Operation Christmas Child will continue to operate under the guidance of local authorities around the world—monitoring local, state and national guidelines and making adjustments as needed. They are prepping for various scenarios and ready to implement multiple contingency plans. One great option to share God’s love is to build a shoebox online. It’s a convenient and personal way to give shoebox gifts directly from home. You make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts, then adding a letter and a photo. Then, Operation Christmas Child packs it for you and delivers it to a child in need.

Kristy then shares a conversation with Amie and Jody Winstead, project leaders from Tennessee. From organizing events, packing shoeboxes, and sending out impact stories, their role is to spearhead Operation Christmas Child in their community. Amie and Jody dive deeper into their dedication to reach their congregation’s personal goal of 1,500 shoeboxes. Tune in to hear their creative ways to fill shoeboxes with homemade gifts.

“That precious little shoebox is hope and light in the darkness. It’s not just school supplies and not just toys, but it’s going with the Gospel of Jesus. Kids are hearing His name, some for the very first time.” – Amie Winstead, Project Leader

The last guest is Simeon, a national leadership team coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Burundi. The ministry in Burundi started with one container of shoeboxes in 2008, and this past year had 27 containers, which is 198,237 shoebox gifts. In total, nearly one million shoebox gifts have been given in Burundi, and last year alone, over 101,000 children enrolled in The Greatest Journey discipleship program. That’s 20 percent of all children ages 0-14 in Burundi. Simeon explains how important it is for the children to receive shoeboxes.

“A shoebox is a tool to introduce the Gospel. This tool will help them start a long journey—an eternal journey—leading people to Christ. Even more than this, they’ll be discipled as well.” – Simeon, National Leadership Team Coordinator

The episode wraps with specific prayer requests from different parts of the Operation Christmas Child ministry, and an update about Samaritan’s Purse work in Sudan. Please continue to pray for God’s abundance through Operation Christmas Child and the work of Samaritan’s Purse.

Kristy Graham remembers the joy of processing and distributing gift-filled shoeboxes in seasons past in "Operation Christmas Child; COVID-19 Updates".
Kristy Graham remembers the joy of processing and distributing gift-filled shoeboxes in seasons past in “Operation Christmas Child; COVID-19 Updates”.

16 Replies to “Operation Christmas Child: COVID-19 Updates”

  1. When will Operation Christmas Child officially begin online? Praises to God for Samaritan’s Purse and your worldwide efforts! You are touching – and saving – so many lives!

    1. Sorry, I don’t understand your question. Operation Christmas Child is a year round ministry. Build a Box Online is always available. Ordering supplies is always available. National Collection Week is the third week in November. Blessed & happy packing.

  2. I live in Murray Bridge South Australia. I have been packing shoeboxes for about 20 years within a local church. It’s a great idea to have the option of choosing the contents for shoeboxes online. Last year I decided to be a project leader. It was an awesome experience especially going to distribution centre packing and checking the shoeboxes.

    1. Hi Cynthia! Yes, Samaritan’s Purse does distribute gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to Guinea-Bissau.

  3. Will OCC be distributing boxes in the United States considering the number of people who are having financial difficulties because of the COVID 19. I am in California and there are many displaced families and children because of the wild fires. Will there be any consideration to send boxes in these situations?

    1. Hi Iris! Great question. We encourage those impacted in the United States to seek assistance from local churches or organizations that focus their efforts within the U.S. Many times, police or fire departments coordinate local toy drives for children in their communities. Many churches also offer programs through which they help people in their communities.

      We do understand your concerns and want to take this opportunity to share how we have supported those in the U.S Samaritan’s Purse continues to help residents as they have struggled with the aftermath of these natural disasters, specifically the Wildfires mentioned. Our staff and a Disaster Relief Unit—a tractor trailer filled with relief supplies and equipment—were deployed Sept. 12 from our West Coast Ministry Center in Fullerton, California, to Santa Cruz County, where dry lightning strike fires have so far burned more than 86,000 acres. The terrible blaze, known as the CZU Lightning Complex of fires, began August 16 and has destroyed more than 900 homes.

      If you’d like more information, you can go to samaritanspurse.org or email us directly at ontheground@samaritan.org.

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