Despite COVID-19 lockdowns, Operation Christmas Child has distributed 9.1 million shoeboxes to children in need.
This happened after several companies have closed owing to COVID-19 worries and industry pressures as a result of intensified legislation aimed at preventing the dissemination of the novel coronavirus.
According to CBN News, Samaritan's Purse, the charity that oversees Operation Christmas Child, finds innovative ways to continue to donate to people in need through increased regulatory intervention on how organizations can treat themselves.
Benin, in Africa, was one of the countries that sent the parcels. "Last week in Benin, these children heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and received their very own gift-filled shoeboxes," states a post on Operation Christmas Child's Instagram page.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is an annual initiative of the Christian nonprofit Samaritan's Purse, an international humanitarian organization headed by Franklin Graham. The program differs from most relief organizations in that while the boxes are sent, the Gospel is then shared to anyone who gets one.
Last year, 9.1 million shoeboxes were sent across the world, reaching millions of children on different continents.
Generosity and Volunteerism
More than 270,000 volunteers in the United States and 570,000 volunteers globally have worked together to render Operation Christmas Child a success, Christian Headlines noted. COVID could not deter the young, elderly, or sick from volunteering to pack boxes and demonstrate to children worldwide that God loves them.
One is a 104-year-old West Virginia man who has reportedly packed 1,000 items, 333 of which have been shipped in the last year alone.
A family of eight in California declined birthday and Christmas gifts in order to shop for shoeboxes. They packed a total of 525 of them.
Mary Bird, 82, of Cuero, Texas, volunteered with the OCC to minister to her church's elders. She converted her home into a center for shoebox packaging, filling over 1,000 boxes with presents.
A Pennsylvania woman who suffers from an uncommon and incurable disease urged all, including young people, to continue serving despite physical limitations. Amanda Urgolites, 24, reportedly dislocates her bones up to 300 times a day. Nonetheless, she managed to knit almost 1,500 shoebox bags, backpacks, and aprons.
There's Strength in Numbers
Volunteers collaborated to provide shoebox presents to millions of children worldwide.
To guarantee the success of OCC 2020, about 70,000 attendees last year staffed 4,000 drop-plus thousand drop-off sites throughout the U.S. The introduction of a new idea of a touch-free, curbside drop-off system for people contributing shoebox gifts enabled donors to donate to the cause safely.
Additionally, over 51,000 individuals volunteered to check shoeboxes at eight separate distribution centers located across the region.
"God used this year to strengthen His church and lay a strong foundation for future ministry. Although we were apart, we were more unified than ever," said one of the volunteers.
Samaritan's Purse founder Franklin Graham said, "This has been a difficult year for many children around the world. More than ever, they need to be reminded that God loves them, and He hasn't forgotten them. I thank God for the incredible team of volunteers who serve year-round to share the hope of the Gospel with children-one shoebox at a time."
OCC is among the well-recognized ministries around the world for its distribution of shoeboxes full of gifts, equipment, and hand-distribution of hygiene items. In addition to their presents, children can obtain a tiny booklet which has the whole chapters of the Gospel of Jesus in it.