Share Your Operation Christmas Child Story

Together we can inspire more people to pack shoebox gifts and reach even more children with God’s love this year!

Every shoebox gift has a story. Over the years we’ve been inspired by stories of long-term packers, fantastic fundraisers, super students, year-round crafters and volunteers being blessed through the experience. We’ve seen people pack despite ill health and challenging circumstances, including a host of creative ideas through the pandemic. We’ve also heard stories of shoebox packers who received letters from the child who received their gift, and more recently we’ve been delighted to hear from individuals who received a shoebox themselves as a child.

We know there are so many shoebox stories out there and your stories have the power to inspire others to take part meaning even more children receive shoebox gifts. Whether this year was your first time packing a shoebox or you have been packing for over 20 years, we would love to hear from you!

Simply complete the form below with your story and any supporting photos or videos you would like to include.


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    Some Inspiring Stories For You To Enjoy…


    6-year-old Arthur was determined that no one should miss out. When his mum asked him if he wanted to make a shoebox for a girl or a boy, he said ‘both’ and when she asked which age group, he said ‘all of them!’ To achieve this, Arthur decided to do a sponsored cycle ride and completed 40 laps of their local BMX track without stopping. Supported by his generous friends and family, Arthur raised enough to pack 66 shoebox gifts!


    “Hello! My name is Vika. I grew up in an orphanage in Odessa, Ukraine. When our teachers gathered us together in our classroom and told us about the shoeboxes we were super excited. I got a little doll, school supplies, personal care items, a colouring book, some chopsticks, a hairbrush, hairbands and a little soft bear. I also received a letter and a picture of a family. It was awesome! Many years later I now make shoeboxes for others. I can’t describe in words how blessed I am to be a part of it. I’ve been there and I know what it feels like to have no parents, to have nothing. God is an awesome God and I would like to encourage each one of you to take a little time and to make a shoebox, to share hope and love with all these children around the world.”


    Our Operation Christmas Child UK Director (Nick Cole) recently visited one of our Samaritan’s Purse teams near the Ukraine/Romania border. During his visit he was delighted to meet Inga, from Manchester, who on seeing the Samaritan’s Purse logo on his jacket approached him to share that she had received a shoebox gift as a child in 1994 while living in Crimea.

    Inga shared with Nick how difficult her family’s circumstances had been following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Along with her mother and brother, she used to attend a local Pentecostal church and when she was 12 years old Inga received a shoebox gift. She fondly recalled, “It was a real treat to receive. I particularly treasured the photo and letter from the sender. It was a very special time in my memories of growing up.”


    Long term shoebox packer Andrea believed that more shoeboxes were going to be needed in 2020 because of COVID so, despite facing terminal illness, she resolved to send as many as possible. With the help of friends and family she packed an amazing 145 shoebox gifts, and she didn’t stop there, but went on to inspire a further 54 shoeboxes online!


    When Josh was 9 years old he packed an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. He included a note wishing the child a Happy Christmas and shared a little about himself, including his address. Two years later Josh received a letter from Radu and Romania thanking him for sending a shoebox and apologising for the late reply, but he had spent two years learning English. The pair became pen pals and are now firm friends having met up several times and even attended each other’s weddings.


    Kanto grew up in a small village in Madagascar, where many children could not afford toys or even shoes to go to school.

    One day when she was six years old, her church told the children they would be receiving shoebox gifts. Kanto recalls, “My heart was really beating waiting to hear my name. I was very excited. I just remember when I had the box I was like ‘WOW it’s for me.’ It was overwhelming for me. There was a pink YoYo and a colouring book. I’d never had a colouring book before and I still have that one. Receiving a shoebox is something I will never forget. Shoeboxes are such a great way to share God’s love.”


    Ted uses his love of and skill in woodworking to build hundreds of toy cars for Operation Christmas Child.

    “When I retired, I was looking for something to occupy my time because I can’t just sit down and do nothing. So, we got involved by beginning to volunteer in an Operation Christmas Child processing centre, and from then on, we got hooked,” Ted recalled. “There were a number of pallets left over that nobody wanted, so, I cut out usable wood from them and over the next year started making toy cars from it.”


    Rebecca received a shoebox gift while living in Romania.

    “My family hurried home to open our shoebox gifts. I remember holding it so tightly with my frozen little hands as I walked home through the snow, shaking it and sniffing it to get a clue of what was inside, my heart pounding with excitement and anticipation. I recall many wonderful items inside but my favourite was the Crayola crayons and marker pens. I used to be a very artsy child and these gifts helped me and my brothers create our own comic book.”


    UK volunteer Sharon has been serving with Samaritan’s Purse in Albania, supporting Afghan evacuee families through a primary care medical clinic, distributing needed items for babies and young children, and offering trauma healing support. While there, Sharon also had the opportunity to take part in an Operation Christmas Child outreach event and said, “I recently had the privilege of attending an Operation Christmas Child outreach event for 600 children who had come to Albania with their families as evacuees on flights out of Kabul, Afghanistan. The local church was hosting the event at the complex where they were all staying. The children were told they were going to receive a special gift from the United Kingdom. As I helped the volunteers from the local church distribute the shoeboxes, the look on the children’s faces was pure joy and astonishment. All the trauma and anxiety of recent times seemed to drift away. Once they had their gifts, they ran to their parents to show them while clinging tightly to that shoebox. Both the parents and the children were very happy.”

    Tell Us Your Story Today!