The world's struggling children to receive 664,000 gift-filled shoeboxes from Canadians

2016 total includes 9,161 boxes packed online through PackaBox.ca option available year-round

CALGARY, Jan. 24, 2017 /CNW/ - Canadians lovingly invested the time and money to pack 664,525 shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and many other items during the 2016 Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign that recently ended.

Distribution of the shoeboxes in the developing world has already begun. During the next few weeks, children in Haiti, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Chile, Guatemala, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Gambia will be receiving shoeboxes packed by caring Canadians.

The 664,525 boxes donated in 2016 was 66,052 or nine per cent fewer than the 730,577 in 2015, but still consistent with the annual totals achieved during much of the last 10 years. The reduction in shoeboxes in 2016 is being attributed to tough economic times in several parts of Canada during the past year.

"We are extremely thankful to Canadians, many of whom are unemployed or facing significant economic uncertainty, for their generosity in continuing to support this vital program year after year," said Randy Crosson, Director of Operation Christmas Child Canada.

"Each shoebox that someone fills with gifts is an opportunity to show hurting children that they are loved by God and by us, and the sacrifices Canadians have made will once again bless children – many of whom have never before received a gift."

All children who receive a shoebox are invited to attend The Greatest Journey, Samaritan's Purse's 12-week evangelism and discipleship program. Since 2009, almost five million children have made decisions for Christ through The Greatest Journey.

Year-Round Option: The 2016 shoebox total for Canada includes 9,161 that were packed online. Thousands of Canadians took advantage of Operation Christmas Child's convenient Internet option that enables visitors to donate at PackaBox.ca. They chose shoebox gift items while also uploading personal notes and photos. Canadians can use PackaBox.ca year-round to pack shoeboxes for hurting children.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and hand-delivered more than 124 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in over 130 countries hurt by war, poverty, natural disaster, disease, and famine.

Samaritan's Purse Canada: Operation Christmas Child is a program of Samaritan's Purse Canada, a Christian relief and development organization that takes its name from Jesus Christ's biblical story of the Good Samaritan. Like that Good Samaritan, who found a beaten man and helped restore him, we aid victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. Besides Operation Christmas Child, our initiatives include providing safe water, vocational skills, and agricultural supplies and training to families in the developing world. Learn more at SamaritansPurse.ca.

SOURCE Samaritan's Purse Canada

For further information: News Media Inquiries: Frank King, News Media Relations Manager, 403-250-6565 (work) or 403-990-0161 (mobile), fking@samaritan.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.samaritanspurse.ca

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