‘Tis the season for kids to begin writing their Christmas wish lists, but this year 7-year-old Angela Wirth is making a different kind of wish list. It’s not for her, but for needy children in a faraway land.
Angela is joining Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse headed by Franklin Graham, to collect and deliver some 8 million gift-filled shoe boxes to children in more than 100 countries. Operation Christmas Child starts with a simple shoe box filled with toys, necessity items, school supplies, candy and often hand-written notes of encouragement. The gifts are then hand-delivered to hurting children worldwide, including those who are suffering from natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism, poverty and famine.
“I want other kids to know that someone really does care about them - that someone loves them,” said Angela, who recently asked for packed shoe boxes instead of gifts at her October birthday party. “I’m makes me feel happy to be able to help other kids who do not have as much as I do.”
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoe box gifts to more than 61 million hurting children in some 130 countries. It is a year-round project, requiring months of organization and preparation to reach millions of kids around the world. Staff and volunteers use whatever means necessary - ships, trucks, buses, trains, airplanes, helicopters, boats, camels, even dog sleds - to reach suffering children.
AMAZING FACT: If all 61 million children who have received shoe box gifts since 1993 stood hand-in-hand, they would form a line stretching 42,192 miles - enough to reach around the world 1 1/2 times.
AMAZING FACT: Operation Christmas Child has generated more than 2,800 miles of smiles - enough smiles to reach from Orange County to New York City.
THIS YEAR IN CALIFORNIA, Operation Christmas Child organizers are working to collect 300,000 shoe box gifts.
AMAZING Orange County FACT: 59,000 shoe box gifts stacked on top of each other would rise more than 94 times higher than Knott's Berry Farm Supreme Scream ride.
Orange County residents can deliver their shoe box gifts to one of nine drop-off locations throughout the area during National Collection Week, Nov. 17-24. Visit www.samaritanspurse.org or call (714) 697-5509 for information on how to pack a shoe box gift and for the nearest drop-off location.