Operation Christmas Child®

Operation Christmas Child®

Good News. Great Joy.

What is Operation Christmas Child?

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ with children around the world, including hard-to-reach areas, in partnership with local churches and ministries. We invite children to a Gospel-focused outreach event organized by local churches and give each boy and girl a gift box prepared by people like you as a tangible expression of God’s love.

Many of the children participate in our 12-week discipleship program, The Greatest Journey, where they learn to follow Jesus and tell others about Him.

By taking part in Operation Christmas Child and packing a gift box, you can take part in starting churches in places throughout the world where the Gospel has not yet been reached.

The Journey of a Gift Box

Group/Individual Participation

Collection of Gift Boxes

Inspection and Processing

Overseas Shipment

Training Local Churches

Discipleship Program

Share the Gospel to Children around the World

Play Video

"I experienced the living God through a pair of shoes!"

Hello, my name is Kwale and I’m 13 years old. I live in Tanzania. I needed shoes to go to school, but my family couldn’t afford them. Every time I went to school barefoot, I was so embarrassed. My friends made fun of me and my teachers sent me away. But my mom told me, “Don’t give up. Let’s continue praying to God.”

Then one day, I received an Operation Christmas Child gift box at church. I was surprised when I opened the gift box. The first thing I saw were shoes, and they were just my size! Kwale made the decision to follow Christ as his Savior during The Greatest Journey class, later volunteering to become one of its teachers. Kwale’s father was so moved by this that he, too, gave his heart to the Lord.

The Miracle of a Small Gift Box

10.5 Million

Gift boxes collected worldwide in 2021

10,271

Gift boxes collected in Korea in 2021

160+

Countries that receive gift boxes for boys and girls

77

Languages into which the Gospel materials have been translated

Join us on The Greatest Journey

The Greatest Journey, the follow-up discipleship program Samaritan’s Purse developed for gift box recipients, teaches children how to follow Christ and share Him with others. Taught by trained local teachers, the course equips students to follow Christ for a lifetime. Graduates receive a certificate and their own New Testament Bible-often a first for them or their families.

The Greatest Journey

  • Week 1 - 6 Know the Gospel

  • Week 7 - 9 Grow in the Gospel

  • Week 10 - 12 Share the Gospel

How to Pack an OCC Gift Box

Step 1

Obtain a Gift Box

People can participate in Operation Christmas Child by either receiving an empty gift box from their participating church/group or ordering boxes online from the Samaritan’s Purse Korea website. You also can use a similar-sized gift box of your own.

Step 2

Select Recipient

Decide if your gift will be for a girl or boy and the age category: ages 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Also be sure to mark these categories on your box.

Step 3

Fill Your Gift Box

Be sure to include an attention-getting “wow” item and quality gifts that will fill the child with joy, including toys, personal care items, and school supplies. (Suggested Gift Items)

Step 6

Drop Off Your Gift Box

Take your packed gift box to your participating church or group, or return it by mail to the address labeled on the return bag included in the participation kit.

Step 5

Donate

A donation of 20,000 KRW per box is critical to cover shipping, discipleship material, and other project costs. For individuals participating with their church or group, you can turn in your donation and for those participating on their own, you can make your donation online through the website.

Step 4

Pray and Write a Letter

Please remember to pray for the child receiving the gift and also write a note of encouragement on the postcard enclosed in the participant kit. You can also include a photo of you or your family or group who prepared the gift(optional).

Participate in Operation Christmas Child

Order Gift Boxes (Free)

You will be sent empty OCC gift boxes for you to pack and return to us
Please note that gift boxes will be mailed out from September 1st and November 7th is the last day to order gift boxes.

Make a Donation

You can participate in the ministry by donating to Operation Christmas Child and covering the cost to pack gift boxes.

Please choose this option if you have already ordered and packed a gift box

20,000 KRW for OCC Gift Box

Covers the shipping fees for one child to receive a gift box and discipleship program costs.

Number of OCC Gift Boxes

Please choose this option if you would like us to pack a box for you instead.

40,000 KRW for OCC Gift Box

Covers the cost for Samaritan’s Purse to pack a gift box for you instead and send it to a child in a hard-to-reach region.

Number of OCC Gift Boxes

Operation Christmas Child

Covers general ministry costs.

Monthly Gift

Single Gift

 

How to Return Packed OCC Gift Boxes

For Churches/Groups

You can return your packed gift boxes by filling out the “OCC Gift Box Pick-Up” form (available from October 21st) and requesting for a free pick-up. If you would like to return the gift boxes directly to Samaritan’s Purse Korea, then please mark this on the form and mail it to the address below:

Samaritan’s Purse Korea Processing Center
Yehan Church 2F Seoul Songpa-gu Olympic-ro 417 ZIP Code: 05507

For individuals

Please send your packed gift box to the address below by using the return bag in your participation kit (shipping fee not covered).

Samaritan’s Purse Korea (Doosol Warehouse)
145 Padam-ro, Mohyun-myeon, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Phone: 010-7603-2726

History of the OCC Gift Box

In the summer of 1993, Franklin Graham received a call from a man in England asking if he’d be willing to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia. Franklin agreed, but figured Christmas was months away. He forgot about the promise until he received a call back around Thanksgiving asking about the gifts.

Franklin asked his friend, Pastor Ross Rhoads to see if he could help with the need. Shortly afterwards, Pastor Rhoads shared this with his congregation and encouraged them to fill shoeboxes, including a letter to the child as well. Within weeks, the church had 11,000 shoeboxes lining their hallways.

Due to their generosity and additional gifts from Canada, Samaritan’s Purse was able to send 28,000 shoebox gifts to children in the Balkans that Christmas. Every year since, Samaritan’s Purse has collected gift boxes filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for children around the world. This project delivers 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.

- Franklin Graham, International President of Samaritan’s Purse -

There are still places around the world where the Name of Jesus has never been heard. That’s why we’re sending the Gospel to the ends of the earth through Operation Christmas Child.

Franklin Graham
International President of Samaritan’s Purse

Stories & Media Resources

Videos, Stories, Photos

Volunteer with Operation Christmas Child

Processing Center Volunteers

Once collected, OCC gift boxes are always inspected and carefully processed to ensure that the gifts inside are suitable for children and ready to be shipped. Every year, many churches and organizations volunteer and join us at the processing center to remove any inappropriate items and fill the gift boxes with additional gifts.

  This year, volunteering at the processing center will take place from December 2 – 10. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the sign-up form (available from Sept 23rd) and join us in this ministry to share the Gospel around the world through OCC gift boxes. You can choose your preferred time slot (am/pm) to volunteer as an individual or as a group.

  *For those who would like to participate in groups of 20 or more, please email us at [email protected] to sign up and save your spot.

Year-Round Volunteers

We are always looking for volunteers with different gifts to promote Operation Christmas Child, mobilize churches, pray, and support the ministry in other ways. We are currently developing a program for year-round volunteers and plan to recruit volunteers for mobilizing churches and communities, planning logistics, media, and in other areas as well. If you are interested, please sign-up for the Samaritan’s Purse Korea newsletter by clicking on the link below and stay tuned for more information to come.

Join us in Prayer

We look forward to God’s work being carried out all over the world through OCC gift boxes. Prayer is a pivotal part of the life-changing experience of a child receiving a gift box and another way to participate in the ministry. Join us in prayer!

“What’s the key to a successful ministry?”

Billy Graham was frequently asked this question by young pastors. Each time, Billy Graham responded in the following way:

“The three most important things you can do are to pray, pray, pray!”

The whole process of the Operation Christmas Child ministry begins and ends with prayer. This is because prayer is the most important thing that we can do. Partner with us as a prayer partner for God’s will to be done through OCC gift boxes. For individuals interested in signing-up as a prayer partner, please click the link below. We will send you monthly prayer requests and invite you to both online and in-person prayer meetings.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

Frequently Asked Questions

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. Our mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We ship these simple gifts overseas to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

The program was started in the United Kingdom in 1990 by Dave and Jill Cooke. Three years after this beginning, the Wales-based shoebox gift project merged in a partnership with Samaritan’s Purse, allowing us to share 20 years of expertise in relief and aid work with the project, and expand the reach of the shoebox gifts to more than 28,000 children that year. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to over 198 million children in more than 100 countries.

Shoebox gifts—and our follow-up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey—are powerful tools to share the Good News with millions of people around the world. We believe in the urgency of reaching communities with the eternal hope of the Gospel, and gifts are a great way to open the hearts of children and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
The shoebox gifts are shipped out from our processing centers by the middle of December, and depending on the distance they must travel, some are delivered by Christmas—primarily those in Central/South America and Eastern Europe. Most of the gifts are sent via ship. Although the collection of Operation Christmas Child gifts is during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, the delivery of some gifts is sometimes delayed due to international shipping. They may not clear customs in receiving countries until spring. In addition, many countries that receive the gifts must transport the gifts to rural areas using very poor roads. Distributions typically occur from late December through spring each year, extending the joy of Christmas to children that receive them!
Operation Christmas Child is unable to facilitate this; however, if you are contacted by your recipient child, you may be able to build a relationship with them.
Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child seek to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way through each shoebox gift. One of our core values is to never be manipulative. We work in and through local volunteers in each country that understand their context and are respectful to the people they serve. At the same time, we do seek to share the Gospel wherever we go, which can be challenging at times. In some regions, we are not permitted to distribute literature, but we are still grateful for the opportunity to bless the children with gift boxes carefully prepared by people who love children. Boys and girls do not have to do or say anything to receive their gifts.

Everything you need to learn how to pack a shoebox gift can be found here.

You can use any shoebox, cardboard or plastic. Operation Christmas Child also has red-and-green boxes that are also available to order now.

Do not include anything that will expire, might damage the gift, or harm the child. Expire- Food, candy, soap, toothpaste – anything with an expiration date Damage the gift- liquids, lotions, breakables, used items Harm the child – sharp objects, war related, money, medications or vitamins
No, they do not need to be wrapped as the gift box is the traditional way they’re handed out to the children. Since the gift boxes need to be processed first anyways, we ask that you do not add additional wrapping or packaging elements to them.
You will have the ability to track your gift box once you order it from the website. If you don’t receive your gift box within 10 days, please contact the Operation Christmas Child office at 02-2105-1800.
The average OCC gift box consists of 10-20 items and usually cost a total of 30,000 KRW on average. There isn’t a min or max limit to how much is spent on the gift box, but we ask for each gift box to be full of quality items. Our prayer is that when a child opens their box, they can tangibly experience the personal love of Christ through the donor’s generosity.
The 20,000 KRW donation is critical for Operation Christmas Child to collect, process, and ship OCC gift boxes to more than 100 countries. It also provides for each child’s ministry materials such as The Greatest Gift Gospel Booklet, the Ministry Partner Guide, the Greatest Journey Discipleship Material, and New Testament Bible. The 20,000 KRW also covers the cost of mailing empty gift boxes to each donor.
We will be collecting boxes during National Collection Week, the third week in November (November 14-21). The new location to send gift boxes directly will be posted on the website in September.

Countries vary from year to year. In the year 2021, we sent gift boxes to Mongolia and Gabon. In 2022, we plan to also send to Ukraine.

Our goal is to collect and distribute millions of shoebox gifts in over 100 countries this year. Because of the tremendous growth of Operation Christmas Child, the logistics involved in collecting, processing, and distributing this many boxes prevent us from designating specific boxes for certain countries or climates according to the contents. We can assure you, however, that whoever receives your box will need and appreciate your gift.

If you prefer not to physically pack an OCC Gift box, you can fund a gift box online. By making a donation of 40,000 KRW you can choose the age and gender of the child and we will pack it for you. You can access “Fund an OCC Gift Box” here.

If you are participating through your local church, please return your gift to your local church. Otherwise, please post your filled gift box to the location to be updated on our website.

We do accept shoebox gifts at our Samaritan’s Purse Korea office year-round.

Please contact us on (02-2105-1800) to make arrangements.

Volunteers can sign- up to inspect shoeboxes and help with other needs at the processing center.

More information to come soon.
You can manage your reservation by contacting us at (02-2105-1800) or [email protected]
Every volunteer in the processing center plays an important role in the ministry of Operation Christmas Child, ensuring the integrity and successful delivery of the gifts. Volunteers in the processing center form teams and perform all the tasks necessary to process the shoeboxes at one location. Teams are responsible for inspecting the gifts, sorting inappropriate items, working with filler items, separating boxes by age and gender, and boxing shoeboxes in designated cartons. Due to the fast-paced environment of the warehouse and changing needs, you may be asked to do different tasks.
Yes, please contact us at 02-2105-1800.
Processing centers are open late November to mid-December to prepare gifts for international shipping.
All volunteers must be at least 13 years of age. Due to the warehouse environment, we can allow no exceptions to this age requirement. At least one chaperone for every four youth is required (youth volunteers include any volunteers between the ages of 13-17). The primary responsibility of a chaperone is to ensure the safety and appropriate behavior of your youth. For the safety of all volunteers in the warehouse, processing center staff reserve the right to ask any group not acting in accordance with safety procedures and outlined policies to leave the building at any time.
The locations of our processing centers vary year-to-year, depending on warehouse availability. Address information will be added to this page once secured
Our processing centers are set up in warehouses, so please make proper provisions to be comfortably and appropriately dressed for this environment. It is best to be prepared with closed-toe shoes appropriate for standing for long periods, and warm, layered, casual clothes as the temperature inside can vary. Breaks are available as needed.
You are welcome to take breaks as needed during your time with us. All food and drinks must remain inside the break area.
First, join the waiting list for your preferred time, then search for other options available. We typically have the most open time slots during the week. After that, check back throughout the season—time slots open regularly as registered group sizes decrease.
Operation Christmas Child is a global program facilitated through hundreds of thousands of trained volunteers. Local believers in more than 100 countries deliver Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts, present the Gospel, and facilitate our follow-up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. With this approach, local Christians who know the culture and language best are given effective resources with a solid biblical foundation to share the Gospel in their communities. We equip ministry partners—a local pastor or church leader—to be our volunteer representatives by providing thorough, detailed training for them to be able to facilitate a shoebox outreach event and present the Gospel. Trained National Leadership Team members, ministry partners, and The Greatest Journey teachers are volunteer roles filled exclusively by these national Christians. To learn more about these roles, visit our Volunteer Network page.
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to provide local churches who are our ministry partners around the world with shoebox gifts as a way to reach children in their communities. For many children, this is the first gift they will ever receive. More important than the items inside the shoebox, the gifts are an opportunity to share God’s love—and the Good News of Jesus Christ—with children in need. In each shoebox receiving country, we partner with a volunteer National Leadership Team that consists of year-round volunteers from various church denominations. Together, they strategize how to reach children in their country with the Gospel. It is our desire to give one shoebox to a child in their lifetime, and this is the model used in our training. Local churches distribute shoebox gifts to children in different communities each year. Because of this strategy, the economic impact on a community is minimal which allows us to reach millions of new children every year with the Good News of Jesus Christ and disciple many, with millions now sharing their faith with their friends, family, and beyond. According to Henry Manthanamba, Operation Christmas Child prayer coordinator in Malawi, “If shoebox gifts impacted our local economy negatively, the government would never allow them. They see it as a blessing to the children of Malawi.”
In more than 100 receiving countries, shoebox gifts are used by local Christians as a strategy for evangelism, discipleship, and the multiplication of believers and churches in their communities. More important than the items inside the shoebox, the gifts are an opportunity to share God’s love—and the Good News of Jesus Christ—with children in need. Local Christians who know the culture and language best are given effective resources in their own language and a solid Biblical foundation so that they can communicate the Gospel within their own communities through shoebox outreach events and The Greatest Journey discipleship program. For example, in Fiji, a pastor hosted an Operation Christmas Child shoebox outreach event in a rural community that had no church. He then invited the children to attend The Greatest Journey follow-up discipleship program. As the students gathered for the discipleship lessons, their parents grew curious and began attending too. The village elder became a believer and offered his property as a place for the new church to meet. Today 80 people attend regularly, and five additional churches have been started in surrounding villages! This is one example of hundreds of churches planted annually as a result of Operation Christmas Child in regions where we work. The evangelism and discipleship resources utilized by Operation Christmas Child were intentionally developed with input from local believers in 16 countries, from six continents, and are specifically focused on children. In the 11 countries where shoebox gifts are packed, Operation Christmas Child provides an opportunity for participants to be a part of fulfilling the Great Commission. Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). In this church-to-church ministry model, churches who pack shoebox gifts partner with local churches around the world who share God’s love with children in need and disciple them through The Greatest Journey.
More than 75,000 pastors and church leaders share the Gospel every year at outreach events where shoebox gifts are delivered. The shoebox outreach events are planned and implemented by volunteers in the local church who know the culture and language best. Through our volunteer National Leadership Team, local believers are trained to present the Gospel in a child friendly way. We work with the volunteer National Leadership Team to develop an annual strategy for evangelism, discipleship, and multiplication of believers and churches in their communities.
Shoebox gifts are given to children regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or faith. We seek to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way through each shoebox gift. Children do not have to do or say anything to receive the gifts. We work in and through local Christians in each country who understand the context in their area. Simple gifts—packed with love in Jesus’ Name—deliver hope and joy to children all around the world, regardless of their faith or religious background.
Operation Christmas Child is not intended as a solution for meeting physical needs, but rather a strategy for the local church to meet spiritual needs of children in their communities. The unexpected gift delights and sparks hope in the life of a child as they hear of Jesus’ love for them. Shoebox gifts are given freely in Jesus’ Name.
Shoeboxes are distributed by volunteers from the National Leadership Team, who are trained and discipled to organize and lead outreach events. The gifts are distributed to the children at these events, which are often held at local churches.
Various individuals and church leaders volunteer to serve as part of the National Leadership Team of each receiving country. Often, these members are teachers, young adults, parents etc. who have a heart to serve and share the Gospel to these children. National Leadership Teams train local church partners on how to distribute shoeboxes, share the Gospel, and disciple children effectively.
The Greatest Journey is a discipleship experience offered by local churches to many of the children who receive shoebox gifts. The 12-lesson program introduces boys and girls to salvation through faith in Christ and encourages them to grow as faithful followers. This connects children to local churches who can, through discipling relationships, teach and nurture the children in faith.
TGG and TGJ may be translated into Korean one day for the Korean churches to use as part of their Sunday school program. However, they will be used primarily for the children in the receiving countries for the time being.
Samaritan’s Purse continues to plan for a traditional processing season with volunteers, but we understand disease trends may prevent this from occurring. In this case, contingency plans are being developed that would still allow volunteers to process shoeboxes even if social distance restrictions are needed.
Yes! Operation Christmas Child plans to collect shoebox gifts during National Collection Week, Nov. 14–21, 2022. Now more than ever, children need to have the reassurance that they are loved by God. We believe in the urgency of reaching communities with the eternal hope of the Gospel, especially in these uncertain times. Shoebox gifts—and our follow-up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey—are powerful tools to share this Good News with millions of people around the world. The best way to stay up-to-date on any changes this season is by continuing to check this page.
We are continuing ministry overseas. Operation Christmas Child is working directly with our international volunteer leadership teams in over 100 countries to assess ongoing ministry activity with some modifications according to local government guidelines.
The best way to stay informed is to stay current on our social media channels and to continue checking this page.

Please refer to our social media channels for updates.

· Instagram: @sp_kor
· Youtube: youtube.com/samaritanspurse.or.kr

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