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Elderly lady and child smiling and receiving a Christmas shoebox

Samaritan's Purse: Shoeboxes full of gospel love and hope

Projects Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey - introducing Children and Families to Jesus.

3 min

Each year, thousands of people all over the UK fill Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts with fun toys, school supplies, accessories, and personal care items for children in need around the world.  Delivered into the hands of children through local churches, every shoebox gift is an opportunity to share about Jesus Christ and God’s love.

Since 1993, globally Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 198 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 170 countries and territories. For many of these children, this is the first gift they have ever received. 

This year, Samaritan’s Purse aims is to send two-thirds of shoeboxes from the UK to Ukraine or the neighbouring countries like Moldova and Romania that are hosting many Ukrainian refugee families.

Operation Christmas Child partner Sergiy shared that, “Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, thousands of Operation Christmas Child gifts for children have already been distributed. Shoebox gifts have been given at the stations where evacuation trains stopped; in churches where families were evacuated overnight; in hospitals and shelters.” 

Another local partner shared her experience of giving out shoebox gifts at a refugee centre in Ukraine. She said, “It was the most emotional outreach event that could be in the history of the gift box distributions. We told each child how much God loves and cares for them. When they opened the gifts, it was like the gift boxes were packed especially for our children. There were so many grateful mums in tears. Many mums came without anything. They just managed to grab their child and run. In the gifts there were so many things they needed.” 

Operation Christmas Child has been working with church partners in the Ukraine since 1996 and over 11.6 million Ukrainian children have received shoebox gifts and heard of God’s love for them since the project began.  

The Greatest Journey

Since 2009, many shoebox recipients have also had the opportunity to enrol in The Greatest Journey course - 12 fun and interactive Bible lessons, where they get the chance to discover who Jesus is and how to begin their own journey of faith. Over 700,000 children in Ukraine have enrolled in this programme since it started.  

Boy and girl sitting together reading a book


10-year-old Anyutka was initially quiet and withdrawn when she started coming along to the Greatest Journey classes with her friends, but she was transformed when she met Jesus towards the end of the programme. Her teacher, Erika, shared that “Anyutka rejoiced, smiled to all, and was telling everyone about God.”  

Keen to discover more, Anyutka started attending her local church and youth meetings and sharing the songs she learned with other local children. Her new faith had a profound effect on the people around her, including her family. Anyutka’s parents also joined the church and as the Lord worked in their hearts, Anyutka’s mother decided to get baptised. 

Through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey, lives are being changed and families transformed for eternity. 

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organisation that works through local churches to proclaim and demonstrate the love of God amongst communities in need across the world.

Who is Samaritan's Purse?

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organisation providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organisation serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Support the work of Samaritan's Purse


To find out more and pack a shoebox gift, visit their website.


Please pray for every child who will receive a shoebox gift this year, that they may know God’s love and comfort at this time. Pray also for Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey volunteer teams and ministry partners in over 100 countries worldwide as they prepare to share Good News and great joy with so many children in need through the distribution of shoebox gifts.