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child hugs shoebox


Many shoebox gifts packed in the UK are now bringing joy to children living in Belarus!



Eastern Europe, east of Poland


9,413,505 with 16% under the age of 15 (source – CIA The World Factbook)




We thank God for the thousands of children who have received shoeboxes here since Operation Christmas Child began outreach events. While we are not able to provide pictures or information on the specific child who received your individual shoebox, we hope you will be inspired by the photos and stories below.

Children Receiving Shoebox Gifts In Belarus

Stories From Our Local Partners In Belarus

Reaching Out In Love

Yulia is a nurse and Alexey repairs roofs and houses. The young couple do not have children of their own, but are always looking for ways to bless the children in their community.

One day Yulia and Alexey brought Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes to the village for Christmas and distributed them. They were delighted to see the great joy of the children and they began to form relationships with many of the families.

They decided to start a children’s group where they played parachute games and made pendants, bookmarks, pencil cases, candlesticks, mosaics and even baked cookies. At first there were 10 children and before long it grew to 25.

Many families have now started attending church, including sisters Anya (14) and Lisa (10). Katya (9) used to get into trouble at school and did not study well but everyone has seen a big change in her since she started attending the church.

Shoebox Gifts Bring Joy to Children in Care

Pastor Oleg and his wife Natalia organised two very special Operation Christmas Child outreach events. The first was for nine children who had been taken into care as their parents were not able to look after them, due to issues with alcoholism. They reported that the children ‘really liked the British shoeboxes’ and were interested to learn about the Christmas story.

The second outreach event was at an orphanage for children aged 3 to 18, where 33 children were delighted to receive shoebox gifts. Friends Matvey and Alexey enjoyed receiving their shoebox gifts together and had fun exploring all the contents. Matvey dreams of becoming a cook, and Alexey would like to be a policeman. Both the children and the staff really enjoyed the Christmas event and Pastor Oleg plans to visit again at Easter.

The local partners were keen to pass on their thanks to everyone who packed a shoebox:

"Thank you our dear friends in the United Kingdom for your love, prayers and shoeboxes! Your support means a lot for our churches in Belarus in this strange and difficult time."

Alexandra’s Shoebox

"My name is Alexandra*. I am 9 years old. I live with my foster mum, two brothers and two sisters. My sister invited me to the church for the Christmas holiday. We danced and read poems and they gave me a present. I have never received such a good gift before. When I opened the shoebox, I saw lots of lovely things, but I especially liked the doll. Thank you very much for the gift."

*Name changed


A Mother’s Joy!

At a nursery, 31 children heard about the Christmas story and were delighted to receive shoebox gifts. The parents expressed how thankful they were and that the children loved the gift boxes very much. One mother stopped the local partner the next day and said that she too had received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift when she was a child and that it was the most memorable thing from her childhood.


Minsk Outreach Event

"Salvation in Christ church in Minsk, Belarus, organised a distribution for the students at a local technical school for children with disabilities. Thirty-five children rejoiced greatly when they opened their gift boxes. All those children were going through many hardships. Thanks to Samaritan’s Purse, they experienced the moment of joy and happiness. The children, who often experienced rejection, accepted everything with opened hearts and rejoiced. Volunteers learnt so much from their childlike faith and love."

– Local Church Partner


Galina’s Story

Galina is a teacher in an orphanage in Brest, Belarus. Every Christmas, Operation Christmas Child volunteers would come and visit this orphanage to distribute shoebox gifts. Galina heard the Christmas message so many times. She saw people playing with children and loving them. She said:

"I watched them and thought, who are these people and where did they get so much glow and love from? Why do they do this? The boys and girls were always happy to see volunteers and receive a gift box. I am so thankful to all those who work in this project, because our children receive so much love through these gifts – every gift is a real treasure."

Our Local Partners  

Operation Christmas Child invests in building National Leadership Teams made up of trained local volunteers and staff within over 100 countries. These teams then work alongside many Regional Leadership Teams who in turn train local church leaders and teachers. In Belarus seven teams are working with 312 ministry partners (teams of volunteers in local churches) to make Operation Christmas Child possible each year!

Thank You

Thank you so much for packing a shoebox gift and sending love and hope to a child in need. Your generosity makes such a difference!