Canadians reaching out to young Philippines storm victims through annual Operation Christmas Child initiative

First 60,000 of an eventual 600,000 gift-filled shoeboxes to be airlifted Thursday to Filipino children

CALGARY, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - While Samaritan's Purse meets emergency needs in the Philippines, its Operation Christmas Child program is sending 600,000 shoebox gifts to Filipino children whose lives were torn apart by the November storm that killed more than 5,000 people. The first 60,000 shoeboxes are being sent Thursday by air, with the rest going in later months.

Shortly after Typhoon Haiyan slammed the central Philippines, Samaritan's Purse deployed its Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). More than 70 of its experienced employees and volunteers are on the ground in the Philippines to coordinate the distribution of emergency food, water, shelter, medical care, and more in some of the most devastated areas.

Meanwhile, the Christian relief and development organization's Operation Christmas Child program rallied volunteers across Canada and the U.S. to support typhoon victims. The shoeboxes are filled with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, encouraging notes, and more.

This Thursday, 60,000 gift-filled shoeboxes will be flown from New York to the Philippines on a Boeing 747 cargo jet to remind Filipino children that they are loved during this difficult time. The shoeboxes will be distributed in the next few weeks, as children and families are resettled.

Samaritan's Purse is committed to the long recovery process in the Philippines. The non-profit organization has sent more than 100 tons of supplies to meet storm victims' needs. It has already sent two cargo jets, including one last Friday that included more shelter supplies and a helicopter to help its disaster teams respond more quickly to people in remote areas.

Samaritan's Purse staff members and volunteers, including several Canadians, will be in the Philippines for many months to help communities rebuild. The charity has coordinated similar disaster responses including after the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and flooding last summer in southern Alberta.

Donations Needed
To support this urgent work, call 1.800.663.6500 or visit SamaritansPurse.ca. Canadians can also pack gift-filled shoeboxes for needy children in many parts of the world at PackaBox.ca.

About Samaritan's Purse Canada
Samaritan's Purse is an international Christian relief and development organization helping victims of war, natural disaster, poverty, and persecution in more than 100 countries. Since 1993, the organization's Operation Christmas Child program has delivered over 100 million shoebox gifts to hurting children worldwide. To learn more, visit SamaritansPurse.ca.

SOURCE: Samaritan's Purse Canada

For further information:

News media inquiries, including interview opportunities:
Frank King
Communications Manager
Samaritan's Purse Canada
fking@samaritan.ca
1.800.663.6500 (ext. 8720) or 403.990.0161


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