Volunteers Are the Backbone of Our Work

November 19, 2020 • Worldwide
OCC processing center

Ongoing: The work of Samaritan's Purse relies on the prayers, support, and tireless efforts of our volunteers.

Volunteers are a critical part of the work of Samaritan’s Purse. That’s particularly true at this time of the year, as it is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.

It takes about 70,000 volunteers to staff over 4,000 locations across the United States where you can drop off your gift-filled shoeboxes. (Drop-off locations are open through Monday, Nov. 23.) During the coming weeks, another 80,000 volunteers will get to work at our eight processing centers to individually inspect, sort, and ship these shoebox gifts to millions of children around the world. To help, visit occvolunteersignup.com.

Once the shoeboxes are shipped overseas, more volunteers get involved. Samaritan’s Purse has a global network of volunteer teams spanning more than 100 countries. These volunteers work to receive the shipments and distribute the shoebox gifts through local churches and Christian partners. After the gift boxes are handed out, we have more than 210,000 trained volunteer teachers ready to lead students through The Greatest Journey, the discipleship program Samaritan’s Purse offers to children who receive shoebox gifts. Many of these children pray to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior and then become ambassadors for Christ, sharing their faith with family and friends.

Our volunteer heritage is rooted in World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan’s Purse, started 1977 to give medical professionals opportunities to serve short-term volunteer assignments at mission hospitals around the world. Since then we have been able to arrange more than 10,000 international trips to provide life-saving care and advance the Gospel.

Our U.S. Disaster Relief ministry also depends on volunteers. This year, we’ve had over 15,000 volunteers respond to tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes, helping more than 4,500 families. Our teams will be working in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina through the end of the year. If you or your church group can help, sign up here. Since 1998, more than 183,000 volunteers have worked with our U.S. Disaster Relief teams.

When you add them all together, that’s close to 400,000 volunteers who join hands with Samaritan’s Purse to help our neighbors in the Name of Jesus.

Volunteers near Nashville Tennessee clean up a devastated yard after tornado ripped through the area in early 2020.

The work of volunteers is essential for the Samaritan’s Purse relief projects happening in the U.S. and around the world.