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What does Operation Christmas Child do?

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Quick Answer

Operation Christmas Child is a program that provides shoeboxes filled with small gifts to impoverished children around the world. The program is run by Christian charity organization Samaritan's Purse. The program's mission is to tangibly demonstrate God's love to the shoebox recipients. Volunteers across the United States participate in the program, including individuals and churches. As of 2015, Samaritan's Purse has distributed more than 124 million shoeboxes to children in over 150 countries.

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Full Answer

Samaritan's Purse accepts shoebox-sized plastic containers as well as actual shoeboxes. The organization recommends that the boxes be filled with items such as toys, personal hygiene items and school supplies. The organization also asks volunteers to contribute a $7 check with each box, to cover shipping and processing costs.

Samaritan's Purse staffs drop-off locations in late November to collect filled boxes. The organization then distributes the boxes through a network of Christian ministry partners worldwide. The countries to which the boxes are shipped vary from year to year.

As of 2015, Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, is the CEO of Samaritan's Purse. He participates annually in the yearly shoebox launch by giving a pep talk and providing a guest speaker at the organization's processing center in Charlotte, NC. Franklin has received recent media attention for his conservative stance on political issues such as gay marriage and Islam.

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