Operation Christmas Child Covid-19 Important Updates

A young girl in Mongolia shows off the treasures she received in her shoebox, including a Gospel storybook in her language.

Important COVID-19 Updates

The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted everyday life for millions of people around the world. Yet, Samaritan’s Purse continues to share the eternal hope of the Gospel and to serve in Jesus’ Name.

We want boys and girls around the world to know that God loves them and has not forgotten them during this time of fear and uncertainty. We’re looking forward to a great Operation Christmas Child season as we prayerfully consider ways to modify our collection and processing in light of COVID-19. We are monitoring local, state, and national guidelines and making adjustments to help protect the health of those involved in collecting and processing shoebox gifts. Please periodically check this page over the coming weeks for regular updates—it’s the best way for you to stay informed.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread and cause untold suffering, children need great joy now more than ever. Most of all, they need the hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you partner with us to share that glorious hope with boys and girls around the world—many of whom have never heard the Name of Jesus? Every gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love. And as children come to faith and are discipled through The Greatest Journey, they tell their friends and family about Christ. As a result, families and communities are transformed, and new churches are planted.

Following local guidelines in each receiving country, we anticipate being able to distribute shoebox gifts internationally and are working with local staff and volunteers.

Another great option to share God’s love is to build a shoebox online. It’s a convenient and personal way to give shoebox gifts directly from home. You make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts, then adding a letter and a photo. We’ll pack it for you and send it off!

Check out some frequently asked questions below. If you still have additional questions, please feel free to email us at occinfo@samaritan.org.

Every gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love

Frequently Asked Questions

Will you still be collecting shoebox gifts this season?

Operation Christmas Child plans to collect shoebox gifts during National Collection Week, Nov. 16–23, 2020. Shoebox donors can find their nearest drop-off locations by early November. The best way to stay up-to-date on any changes this season is by continuing to check this page and by visiting our social media channels.

We may not be able to host a packing party at our church, impacting the number of boxes we plan to pack. Any suggestions?

We strongly encourage packing parties to follow local government guidelines. If your church or group shoebox goal is impacted by COVID-19, you may want to consider Build a Shoebox online.

What adjustments will be made to drop-off locations to ensure safe collection?

With nearly 5,000 drop-off locations planned in 2020, we understand that each community, county, and state may be at a different phase of COVID-19 recovery during National Collection Week. Samaritan’s Purse is developing resources and procedures for drop-off locations to customize their collection to ensure the safety and well-being of both donors and volunteers. This may include providing required personal protective equipment to developing procedures for a touch-free experience for donors.

Will there still be volunteer processing at the end of the year? What will you do to ensure social distancing?

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. Also, additional personal protective equipment will be readily available and additional cleaning protocols are being developed for all Processing Centers in 2020. We encourage you to check this page for the latest information.

Is Operation Christmas Child still moving forward with ministry overseas with coronavirus, or is it impacting the efforts of Operation Christmas Child?

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.

Does Operation Christmas Child need these boxes?

Yes! 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.

If we can’t gather, why would kids be gathering?

The health and safety of our staff, local partners, and beneficiaries is of utmost importance to us. Samaritan’s Purse is constantly monitoring COVID-19 trends around the world. In addition, 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.

Should participants be shopping for shoebox items during this time?

Samaritan’s Purse and the Operation Christmas Child team encourages everyone to follow local guidelines and use personal discernment to shop for shoebox items. Many stores are opening around the country and online shopping is a popular method for participants.

What’s the best way to get updates?

The best way to stay informed is to stay current on our social media channels and to continue checking this page.

Does the virus change what we can or should pack this year?

At this time there are no changes as to what can and can’t be packed in shoebox gifts this year. We encourage you to continue visiting this page for the latest updates.

Build a Shoebox Online

Let us pack a box for you based on gift selections you make. Many of these shoeboxes are delivered to hard-to-reach areas to share the Good News in a culturally sensitive way.

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