Despite the struggle of the pandemic during the Christmas period, Australians still showed their thoughts were with others.
Last year, the international charity Samaritan’s Purse collected millions of boxes of gifts which were given at Christmas to children in need across the world.
Called Operation Christmas Child, the project involves donating a shoebox filled with gifts. The boxes are distributed to children in impoverished countries.
Since its inception in 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 198 million shoeboxes to children in more than 170 countries.
Expressions of love
In Australia and New Zealand, the charity collected 210,182 shoeboxes. These contributed to a grand total of 10.5 million shoeboxes for children worldwide.
The boxes “bring so much joy,” according to Samaritan’s Purse. “These gifts provide a tangible expression of love.”
Each shoebox is packed with gifts such as toys, stationery and hygiene items – for a world that remains in the grip of a pandemic.
The donated boxes from Australians and New Zealanders go to children in countries including Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Fiji and the Philippines.
At present, there are more than 100 receiving countries worldwide.
After receiving a shoebox, children have the opportunity to enrol in a Samaritan’s Purse course, The Greatest Journey. The course involves a 12-lesson Bible study.
Aid to Ukraine
Samaritan’s Purse also is providing medical aid to the people of Ukraine as they battle the ongoing invasion of Russian forces. So far, this conflict has claimed more than 3,000 civilian lives.
The charity has set up a field hospital outside Lviv, in Ukraine’s west.
“Samaritan’s Purse has some 150 disaster response specialists serving in Ukraine and the surrounding countries to help meet the critical needs of families impacted by conflict,” a spokesperson told Hope 103.2.
“At our Emergency Field Hospital, we are coming alongside the local healthcare system to supplement general medical care while also treating several injuries due to ongoing conflict.”
The spokesperson confirmed people have been separated from their families during the conflict.
“Samaritan’s Purse wants to run into these hard places to help meet the physical needs of these hurting families,” the spokesperson said.
Samaritan’s Purse also works with more than 3,000 churches across Ukraine. It plans to deliver 600,000 gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for children through those churches and ministry partners.
For more information about taking part in Operation Christmas Child this year, visit here.