Gift-filled shoe boxes from Samaritan's Purse help brighten children's lives worldwide

Start packing! National Shoe Box Collection Week is November 19-25

CALGARY, Oct. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canada-wide 2012 Operation Christmas Child shoe box collection season - an annual project of Samaritan's Purse Canada - kicks off today as thousands of individuals, families, churches, businesses, and community groups prepare to fill shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items, plus personal notes and photos.

Samaritan's Purse will deliver the gift-filled shoe boxes to children around the world living in the midst of poverty, disease, war, and natural disaster. For example, as part of Samaritan's Purse's rebuilding efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and subsequent hurricanes and cholera outbreak, it will send tens of thousands of shoe boxes to Haiti again this year to help bring hope, joy, and love to struggling children there.

Last year, Canadians filled 672,274 shoe boxes with gifts that shared God's love and hope with children in the developing world. This year, Operation Christmas Child is striving towards collecting and distributing our 100-millionth shoe box globally since the program began.

"To reach that goal, we are asking Canadians from coast to coast to pack shoe boxes during the next few weeks," said Fred Weiss, executive director of Samaritan's Purse Canada. "Together, we can use the power of a simple gift to touch the hearts of children and improve their lives."

When gift-filled shoe boxes are distributed in a community, it often results in Samaritan's Purse identifying and responding to other needs, such as safe water, latrines, school supplies, medical facilities, etc.

National Shoe Box Collection Week is November 19-25. Each gift-filled shoe box collected in Canada will make a long journey to the outstretched hands of a needy child in Haiti, South or Central America, or West Africa.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has been a vital project of Samaritan's Purse - a Christian relief and development organization providing physical and spiritual 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 in the form of safe drinking water, literacy and job skills initiatives, feeding programs, medical care, and more.

Available resources:

To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit samaritanspurse.ca/occ.

SOURCE: Samaritan's Purse Canada

For further information:

To arrange an interview with a local, national, or international representative of Operation Christmas Child, to obtain information about a shoe box event or story idea in your area, or to locate the nearest shoe box drop-off location:

Frank King
Communications Manager
Samaritan's Purse Canada
fking@bgea.ca or 1.800.303.1269