BOONE, North Carolina (Christian Examiner) – Samaritan's Purse announced today it topped its goal of "10 million shoeboxes" for 2014's Operation Christmas Child.
Worldwide, 10.4 million shoeboxes were received, with some 8 million from the United States.
"In 2014, thousands of churches, partners, families and individuals in the United States packed some 8 million shoebox gifts for children in need around the world," Randy Riddle, Domestic Director of Operation Christmas Child told the Christian Examiner. "Globally, Operation Christmas Child collected 10.4 million of these simple gifts that will make a huge impact on the lives of children and their families in over 100 countries.
"Not only will children hear the Gospel message, but more than 2 million children will now participate in a 12-lesson discipleship program called The Greatest Journey," Riddle continued. "It will teach them more about following Jesus Christ."
Since 1993, more than 124 million shoebox gifts have been collected.
"A small shoebox can teach a child about the love of God, lead him or her to faith in Christ, inspire pastors, and plant new churches," according to the SamaritansPurse.org/OCC website. "What goes into the box is fun. But what comes out is eternal."
The shoeboxes are filled with age-appropriate items for children 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14. These can include toys, school supplies, non-liquid hygiene items, accessories such as t-shirts, hair bows, flashlights, plus a personal note and even a photo.
Samaritan's Purse makes sure an evangelistic tract also is included. The shoeboxes are shipped and handed out by local partners in third-world countries overseas.
"Every shoebox gift delivered by Operation Christmas Child a a tangible expression of God's amazing love," Riddle told the Examiner.
"We want the children of the world to know God hasn't forgotten them, that God loves them, that He cares for them," Graham told Sean Hannity in mid-December on the Fox News channel Hannity television program.
"We ask everybody to pray [for the child receiving the shoebox]," Graham continued. "We know God hears the prayer of one righteous person, and when you have 10 million people praying, just think what God might do."