The shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child bring hope to kids who desperately need to feel God’s love.
But during this time when the coronavirus pandemic is making it nearly impossible to just go to church, it’s even harder to get these boxes filled. Here’s how to keep hope going strong during COVID-19.
2020 has been a difficult year. COVID-19 has disrupted daily life for just about everyone. It’s even shut the doors of many churches — for some temporarily and others permanently.
“The disruptions related to giving, and maybe even as important to all that, is that even for those churches that have reopened, they’re seeing much smaller numbers of people show up,” says Barna President David Kinnaman. “So simply reopening a church doesn’t fix the underlying economic challenges that you might have.”
Samaritan’s Purse relies heavily on donations and volunteers to fill the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. And churches supply many of these volunteers, as well as host large packing events. So, with COVID-19 taking its toll on churches, it threatens to hurt the efforts of this vital mission, too.
No Operation Christmas Child means no Christmas for children who have already been affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease.
But we don’t have to let COVID ruin the efforts of Operation Christmas Child! There are still many ways to safely fill those shoeboxes during the pandemic in time for National Collection Week: November 16–23, 2020.
Why packing a shoebox is so important
The shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child are filled with things like small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. These are items so many of us take for granted, yet mean the world to the children receiving them. And as the shoeboxes are distributed, local believers share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with children.
The joy these boxes bring to the kids is immeasurable. It’s a tangible way for them to feel God’s love. And the experience can literally change lives, inspire hope, and lead to God’s salvation.
In fact, that’s exactly what a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child did for a young man named Karabo from South Africa.
Testimony about shoebox from Operation Christmas Child
Karabo was just 5 years old when he lost his father. Soon after, his mother abandoned him, leaving him in the care of his Grandmother. Karabo’s Grandmother took over raising him and started teaching him about God.
But then, Karabo’s biggest fear came to pass.
The young man’s Grandmother passed away. A year later, his mom died, too. And now, Karabo found himself alone and an orphan — the thing he had always feared most.
A friend in the city invited Karabo to a church where they were handing out shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child. And it was there that Karabo experienced the love of God when he needed it most.
“That shoebox filled one of the holes in my heart,” Karabo recalls. “I had lost everything. So, the gift of the box gave me that hope — this belongs to me. And it really filled my heart.”
That event also nurtured the seed of faith Karabo’s Grandmother had already planted as she raised him.
“I realized God gave me what I was always in need of. I made a choice to personally seek Him,” he says.
Today, Karabo is confident in His Savior’s love for him. He also has a family and is no longer an orphan. And it all took root because of the shoebox he received through Operation Christmas Child.“I’ve had a long of people tell me I’m lucky,” he says, “but I tell them I am chosen.”
Karabo’s testimony is not unique. Operation Christmas Child has been operating since 1993. And in that time, over 168 million children in more than 100 countries have received gift-filled shoeboxes. And the impact these boxes have on the kids who receive them is extraordinary.
Now, in 2020, Operation Christmas Child faces a new challenge — COVID-19.
Filling a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child is especially crucial this year, as the children this mission serves need joy now more than ever. They need the hope only Jesus Christ can bring.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to safely support Operation Christmas Child during these uncertain times.