As the Thanksgiving season approaches, many families and children are giving thanks and giving back—to children in need around the world through Operation Christmas Child.

Shoebox gifts prepared by generous donors and filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies may be dropped off now during National Collection Week, Nov. 14 - 21. More than 4,500 drop-off sites are now open. The Samaritan’s Purse project will collect its 200-millionth shoebox this year.

Operation Christmas Child has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts to children worldwide for nearly three decades. In 2022, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoeboxes to reach another 11 million children. This season, there’s still time for individuals, families, and groups to transform empty shoeboxes into fun gifts. The project of Samaritan’s Purse partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these presents to children in need. 

The first step is to find a shoe box.  Start with an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately. You can use your own shoeboxes or order a colorful preprinted ones, available in both cardboard and plastic. 

The second step is to get a label at the Label Options page through https://samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child to find out whether an adhesive or printable label is best for you. Whichever you choose, use the label to indicate on your shoebox whether it was packed for a boy or girl and which age category: 2–4, 5–9, or 10–14.

The last step is to fill the box with gifts. Select a medium to large “wow” item such as a soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal, then fill with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. Don’t forget to also include a personal note and photo—sometimes these are the child’s favorite things to receive.

 “This season, children around the world need a tangible reminder that there is hope and that God loves them,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Through these shoebox gifts packed with special items, children also receive the opportunity to hear about the eternal hope found in Jesus Christ.”

Participants can drop off the boxes at First Baptist Church at 910 R St. in Newman. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Nov. 16 to Nov. 18; 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Nov. 19; 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 20 and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Nov. 21.