Operation Christmas Child 2010

There’s only a few days left for Operation Christmas Child with 98.5 Sonshine FM this year.

The yearly project, run by Samaritan’s Purse, is a great opportunity for families in developed nations to touch the lives of children in developing countries. The great thing is that it doesn’t only effect the children who receive the shoe boxes filled with toys and other items, it reaches into the lives of family and the wider community.

Operation Christmas Child is a unique project of Samaritan’s Purse that brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes.

It provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple but hands-on project that has the power to transform children’s lives.

In 2009, our teams in Australia and New Zealand delivered over 300,000 gift-filled shoe boxes to South East Asia and the South Pacific. Globally, Samaritan’s Purse distributed an estimated 8.5 million shoe boxes to children in 105 countries.

As each shoe box gift is delivered, it is treasured by the child that receives it, and is a lasting reminder that he or she is precious to God.

Our family has put shoe boxes together for a number of years and our church, Thornlie Church of Christ, is not only enthusiastically involved but serves as a collection centre for people in the area wanting to drop off their completed gifts.

The amazing thing is that many of the children who receive the shoe boxes have never before received any kind of gift. They’ve never known what it’s like to be given a birthday or Christmas gift. Their families are often so poor that they’ve never had the means to give their children a gift of any kind.

Our son, James, is turning a year older on Saturday and while our family finances are very tight right now, I couldn’t imagine not spoiling him with gifts and celebrating with him. When I think of the children receiving these shoe boxes I also think of the pain their parents must be going through in not being able to provide something special for their little ones.

At a Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoe box distribution in Papua New Guinea, the children were asked if they had ever received a new gift and, if not, what they would hope for.

Tawhiri, a 9-year-old boy who lives near the Kokoda Trail, waved his hands and shouted that he would love something to cover his head when it rained.

So imagine his excitement when Tawhiri opened his box and pulled out a perfect beanie! His joy was infectious as all the children saw that his wish had come true. They all opened their boxes to discover they were full of gifts – just for them.

While the cut off date for this year’s Operation Christmas Child is rapidly approaching, the reality is that Samaritan’s Purse is collecting boxes year round, so there’s always plenty of time to put together a box to change a life.

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