Franklin Graham was asked by a man in England if he’d be willing to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in Eastern Europe. He asked Calvary Church of Charlotte where 11,000 shoeboxes were filled within weeks. With additional gifts from Canada, 28,000 shoeboxes were sent to children that Christmas in 1993. Since then, more than 209 million children in more than 170 countries/territories have received Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoeboxes, which “deliver not only the joy of what, for many kids, is their first gift ever, but also gives them a tangible expression of God’s love.”
Millions of OCC shoeboxes are collected every year throughout the world. Behind the scenes, there are 9,000 year-round volunteers, 80,000 short-term volunteers and 4,000 drop-off locations (this year, FBC Tarrytown is one of 4,000) during National Collection Week (Nov. 13-20, 2023). There are over 1.7 million volunteers who have been trained to teach “The Greatest Journey”, a dynamic follow-up discipleship course for shoebox recipients. Millions of children have enrolled in its 12-lesson program to learn how to follow Jesus and share Jesus with others. Many children witness to family and friends and new churches are being built as a result. All of this is supported by the 30,000 volunteers in Samaritan’s Purse’s prayer network.
So we invite you to pack a shoebox* and volunteer at FBC during November National Collection Week to take part in this incredible ministry.
*No worries if you are not the shopping type. You can build one at Build-a-Shoebox online. Those “built online go to the ends of the earth to children in some of the hardest-to-reach places - whether deep jungles, city slums, steep mountainsides, or one of 1,000 remote Pacific islands. Many of these areas are resistant to the Gospel, for cultural or religious reasons, and are home to numerous unreached people groups, some of whom have never heard the Name of Jesus Christ. Online boxes are carefully prepared, abiding by strict customs regulations.