Thursday, January 19, 2012

Canadians donate more than 672,000 gift-filled shoe boxes to the world's hurting children

Operation Christmas Child donations in 2011 surpass 2010 donations by five per cent; online shoe box option helps those who missed collection deadline

CALGARY, January 18, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Thank you Canada, you did it again! Canadians donated 672,274 shoe boxes packed with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies during the 2011 Operation Christmas Child shoe box campaign that ended recently. That's five per cent more than the 2010 total of 640,714 boxes.

Operation Christmas Child staff, volunteers and partners have already begun distributing the 2011 shoe boxes in the developing world. During the next few weeks, children in Haiti, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Argentina, Nicaragua, Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Guatemala, and Venezuela will be receiving shoe boxes packed by caring Canadians.

"We're thrilled to be sending over 672,000 lovingly-packed shoe boxes of gifts to children around the world who need them most," said Randy Crosson, director of Operation Christmas Child Canada, a program of international Christian relief and development organization Samaritan's Purse Canada.

"Each shoe box is an opportunity to show hurting children they are loved by God and by us, and the generosity of Canadians will once again bless children who likely have never before received a gift."

Several thousand Canadians chose to pack their shoe boxes online this year. They took advantage of Operation Christmas Child's option that enables visitors to the website to choose shoe box gift items, write a personal note, add a photo, and make a donation - all of it online.

This option is available year-round for those who - for health reasons, scheduling challenges, or limited access to transportation - aren't able to shop for gifts and pack shoe boxes in the traditional way: (

All shoe boxes packed online in 2011, plus all shoe boxes from Quebec in 2011, are part of a 75,000- box commitment to Haiti, where the need for hope and a reminder of God's love remains very strong after a deadly earthquake and cholera epidemic in 2010.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and hand-delivered more than 94 million shoe box gifts to children in over 130 countries hurt by war, poverty, natural disaster, disease, and famine.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has been a vital project of Samaritan's Purse - a Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

The shoe box is just the beginning, because Operation Christmas Child is creating opportunities for Samaritan's Purse to provide other help to children, their families, and their communities through safe drinking water, literacy and job skills initiatives, feeding programs, medical care, and more.