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

Page Last Updated: October 14, 2020

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. 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?

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 already monitoring local, state, and national guidelines and making adjustments to help protect the health of those involved in preparing shoebox gifts.

Shoebox Packing—Traditional & Online

We are grateful you plan to join us this year in packing traditional boxes, building a shoebox online, or both. Check out creative ideas from Operation Christmas Child Project Leaders across the U.S. who are making modifications to shoebox packing in order to ensure that children around the world are still blessed with great joy and the Good News of Jesus Christ. National Collection Week is Nov. 16–23, 2020. For churches and groups meeting online, digital resources are available.

Digital Resources for Churches and Groups

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.

Build a Shoebox Online—Goal Pages

In a few easy steps, create a custom webpage for your church, group, or event to track your progress toward a shoebox goal! We'll send you a unique link for you to share by email or social media to get others involved in building shoeboxes online.


Greater Opportunities for Shoeboxes (0:59)

Franklin Graham encourages supporters to pack more Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoeboxes than ever before as the global pandemic is creating greater opportunities to share the Gospel with children around the world.

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The Urgency of the Gospel (2:02)

As the world wrestles with a global pandemic, children around the world need hope now more than ever. Gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes can help show them God's love and provide an opportunity to communicate the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Build a Shoebox Online

This overview of Operation Christmas Child's contactless shoebox packing option also features our new goal pages—an easy way to track the progress of a church or group toward a shoebox goal.

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Social Media Graphics

Customizable Media Slides

Churchwide Packing

Use this editable slide with an image of shoebox recipients to inform your church or group when you'll be packing boxes together.

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Build a Shoebox Online—Goal Pages

Update this editable slide with information about the Build a Shoebox Online goal page for your church or group.

⇣Download Media Slides

Drop-off Locations

Samaritan's Purse plans to collect shoebox gifts in over 4,000 locations across the U.S. this year, with each one offering a curbside drop-off option.

Find a Location Near You

Search for the drop-off location nearest you after Oct. 26 using our drop-off locator. Don't forget to check back on that page just before National Collection Week (Nov. 16-23) for the latest information and locations. COVID-19 is limiting the number of drop-off locations we can offer this year, so if you don't find one near you, try one of the following:

What to Expect When Dropping Off Shoeboxes

When you arrive at your drop-off location, follow the signs for curbside drop off. A volunteer wearing a mask will greet you and direct you to an outside area where they will retrieve your shoeboxes. Volunteers will also present you with a touchless way to leave your contact information and the number of shoeboxes that you are dropping off.

Processing Centers


Samaritan's Purse plans to again process shoebox gifts at eight different locations across the U.S. Volunteer registration for these processing centers opened to the public on Sept. 30. If you register to serve, we will communicate with you regularly via email regarding the modifications being made to prepare for your visit.


Before you arrive:
  • Before your service date, everyone in your group should be free of COVID-19 related symptoms for 14 days and should not have been exposed to anyone that is known positive for COVID-19 during that same time period. If you or someone in your group has symptoms, please do not come.
  • We also ask that you and each member of your group check your temperature before traveling to the processing center. If someone has a temperature of 100 F or higher, they will be asked to leave for the safety and health of other volunteers.
  • Please have everyone in your group complete an online volunteer waiver prior to arriving or bring a hard copy of a completed waiver to the processing center. This will expedite your process upon arrival and prevent unneeded risks when completing the waivers on-site.


At the Processing Center:
  • Volunteers are required to wear face coverings.
  • Samaritan's Purse will provide masks and optional gloves for all staff and volunteers who serve in a processing center.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the facilities.
  • The temperature of all volunteers will be checked upon arrival and staff temperatures will be monitored daily as well. If a volunteer has symptoms or a temperature of 100 F or higher, they will be asked to leave the processing center in consideration of all serving.
  • Designated staff will clean and sanitize the properties frequently.
  • Our newly-developed processing procedures will allow volunteers and staff to social distance while serving.
  • Volunteer group leaders will receive additional information regarding how to prepare for COVID-19 modifications prior to arrival.
  • Procedures may be customized per processing center based on local guidelines and restrictions.
  • If changes to your schedule are required due to local COVID-19 conditions, we will communicate as quickly and thoroughly as possible through volunteer group leaders and updates to this webpage.


Please check back later for additional updates about what to expect at our processing centers this year.

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 the Processing Centers be operating differently due to COVID-19?

Samaritan's Purse continues to plan for a traditional processing season with staff and volunteers with any needed modifications to conform with local, state, and federal guidelines. As we continue to monitor disease trends, we are also developing contingency plans to ensure shoeboxes are processed. Personal protective equipment will be readily available and more intensive cleaning protocols will be in place 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.

Can I volunteer in the processing center if I have a written order from a physician stating I don't have to wear a face covering?

We seek to set a standard of care in this unique season and ask volunteers to adhere to the same. Volunteers will be required to wear a face covering while in the processing center. Masks will be available onsite for those who do not have one. Samaritan's Purse has established the guidelines for processing this season, and a physician's order will not be permitted.

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.