by Madison V. Fisler
Nov. 26, 2013. Though the final numbers for box collection will not officially be available until mid-December, Samaritan’s Purse is looking forward to totaling what could be a record breaking number of boxes this year for Operation Christmas Child.
Last year, Operation Christmas Child collected 6.5 million boxes in the United States alone, and a little more than 9 million boxes worldwide. This year, the goal is to raise 9.8 million boxes internationally, said Stacey Gotwald, media relations manager for Operation Christmas Child.
During National Collection Week, which ran from Nov. 18 through Nov. 25, individuals, families and groups filled empty shoeboxes with gifts, toys, school supplies and hygiene items and brought them to one of 3,500 drop off locations around the country. Participants also had the option to pack a shoebox online.
From here, the prepared boxes are processed for shipment overseas at eight processing centers across the nation including Boone, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Minneapolis, and Orange County, Calif. and from there they shoebox gifts are delivered to children in more than 100 countries across six different continents utilizing more than 500,000 volunteers across the United States, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Though the National Collection Week has ended, boxes can still be donated to the collection centers until Dec. 31 when the collection centers will close their doors to focus on distribution.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries. With its 20th anniversary, the foundation expects to collect 9.8 million shoeboxes this year.