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young girl in Ukraine receiving a shoebox


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



Eastern Europe, between Poland, Romania, and Moldova in the west and Russia in the east


43,306,477 with 16% under the age of 15 (source – CIA The World Factbook)


Ukraine flag


We thank God for the thousands of children who have received shoeboxes here since Operation Christmas Child began distributions. 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 Ukraine

Shoebox Joy For Little Ones

A message from our local partners:

"Greetings! We continue to serve God and today we served in an orphanage where abandoned children live without parents. We brought them gifts and played with them and most importantly, spread God’s love!"

Children with shoebox gifts in Ukraine

Anastasia's Shoebox

7-year-old Anastasia* (right) and 5-year-old Ionna* from the Donetsk region were delighted to receive shoeboxes. They loved sharing the dolls, combs, and other toys they opened. Their mum Vira* was especially happy that Anastasia could enjoy her birthday in such a special way!

The family fled eastern Ukraine in an evacuation train following a bomb attack in their area. They were relieved to leave, but the experience was frightening. “The train was packed with too many people, like fish in a can,” Vira said.

Now they live in a modular town in Lviv set up to accommodate people displaced by the war. “It’s difficult,” Vira said. “We have to stay here. It’s the only place. We don’t know what the future holds. Maybe the war will end.” Each day Anastasia asks Vira when they can go home, but what sort of answer can a parent offer under the circumstances? 

*Names changed

Vira and her daughters

Shoebox Gifts Bless Children in Ukraine

Hear from Pastor Vitaly in Ukraine, about what their people are going through and watch how gift-filled shoeboxes are blessing the lives of children, even in the midst of such a difficult situation.

Kateryna's Shoebox

13-year-old Kateryna* received her once-in-a-lifetime shoebox gift filled with a skipping rope, paddle ball, water bottle, toiletries, crayons, a noisemaker, and more. A budding vocalist and pianist, Kateryna simply wants to go back to her home city of Kharkiv where her house was destroyed by shelling. Though they miss friends and family, her mum said they can only go back “when all the terrible things end.”

Shoebox gifts

Nyeva’s Shoebox

After a trip to Ukraine a Samaritan’s Purse staff member shared the following story:

In the past two days, hundreds of Ukrainian children have received shoebox gifts and heard the Gospel. These included orphans and children who have been displaced by the conflict. One of those was 6-year-old Nyeva, who fled with her mother and younger brother from Melitopol. They lived under occupation for months, under a cloud of fear, with very little to eat or drink. Her mother became quite sick because she was giving all of the food to the children. After their neighbours were killed, the mother Yulia, decided she had to get out of there. They boarded a bus in the middle of the night and prayed for safety. It took 18 hours to make the trip. Nyeva is very scared of noise and the dark. She has nightmares. They had left everything behind, including toys. When Nyeva received her shoebox, her eyes lit up, and she smiled. It brought tears to her mother’s eyes. Also, Nyeva’s brother loves Lego but hasn’t had any since they fled their home. Yulia said he often asks when he can have Lego again, but she doesn’t have the resources to buy anything extra. There was Lego in his shoebox!


The 200 Millionth Shoebox!

Elizabeth Groff, now 28 years old, will never forget receiving a shoebox gift from Samaritan’s Purse when she was living in an orphanage in Ukraine. Here is the special moment when she lovingly placed the special 200 millionth box into the hands of another young orphan girl in Ukraine.

This special shoebox contained items chosen by supporters from the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, South Korea, and the USA, to celebrate the milestone of sending 200 million shoeboxes since Operation Christmas Child began.

Twice Refugees Find Peace in the Midst of the War

In a city to the east of Kyiv where many refugees pass through on their journey to the west, one Operation Christmas Child ministry partner church has been part of supporting over 400 refugees by preparing hot meals and providing shelter.

Volodymyr shared how he had met two Afghan families (four adults and 12 children) who had come from Kharkiv. After fleeing Afghanistan some time ago, they moved to Ukraine with the hope that they could finally enjoy life free from war, but once again conflict uprooted their lives forcing them to leave their home. Volodymyr’s church provided the families with food, necessities, temporary accommodation, and the special surprise of a shoebox gift for each child. Volodymir enjoyed seeing the children happily opening their shoeboxes, with no sign of fear of war on their faces, and the parents smiling as they watched. With their agreement, he was also able to share God’s love and the Good News of the Gospel with the families.

Soon after, the volunteers helped the families to get the evacuation transport through western Ukraine into Germany to continue their journey. Volodymyr believes that these “twice refugees” found peace in the midst of the war and he prays that the seed of the Gospel will bear the fruit of salvation in Christ.

A Light in the Darkness

During the early days of the Ukraine crisis, an Operation Christmas Child outreach event for refugees touched the lives of many families.

“It was the most emotional event,” shared one of our local ministry partners. “We told each child how much God loves and cares for them. When they opened the gifts, it was like the gift boxes were packed especially for them. Many families came without anything; they just managed to grab their children and run. In the gifts there were so many things they needed.”

Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, thousands of Operation Christmas Child gifts have been distributed to children there and in surrounding countries by our local church partners.

Shoeboxes Filled With Love Change Lives in Ukraine

Samaritan’s Purse has been working in Ukraine for over 20 years, with 3,200 churches currently. In 2017 local partner Mykhailo Glushchenko shared how Operation Christmas Child was making a difference in his community.

Elizabeth’s Shoebox

Elizabeth Groff received an Operation Christmas Child gift-filled shoebox when she lived in an orphanage in Ukraine. The box opened her heart to God’s love and gave her hope for the future.

Our Partners

In Ukraine, 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 Ukraine, 20 teams are working with 1,522 ministry partners (teams of volunteers in local churches) to make Operation Christmas Child and The Greatest Journey possible each year!

The Greatest Journey

Each shoebox gift delivered by Operation Christmas Child is a tangible expression of God’s amazing love.  But a shoebox is just the beginning. After receiving a shoebox gift, children have the opportunity to enrol in The Greatest Journey – 12 fun and interactive Bible lessons, where they get the chance to discover who Jesus is and how to begin their own journey of faith.  At the end of the course they get to experience a graduation ceremony where they receive a New Testament in their own language.

The Greatest Journey is taught by local volunteers who have been trained to deliver the programme. It is offered free of charge, without obligation, and with the consent of the child’s parent or guardian. 

Over 850,000 children in Ukraine have enrolled in this programme since it started.

Our Wider Work in Ukraine

Samaritan’s Purse is providing food and non-food items to suffering families in Ukraine while airlifting medical supplies into the country as fighting rages on. In partnership with churches in Ukraine, we are transporting these urgently needed relief supplies to families suffering in areas impacted by conflict.

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!