Operation Christmas Child: Frequently Asked Questions

What size shoebox should I use?
Any medium sized shoebox is fine. Large boxes cause problems with transport and it is unfair if one child has a bigger box than the others. This is why we ask for a MEDIUM sized shoebox. However, there is no problem with shoeboxes that are slightly above or below the guidelines.

Our Drop Off Points this year include Shoezone shoe shops, who will be happy to give empty shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child donors – subject to availability.

What items can I put in a box?
The list of items that can be put in a box are listed here, as well as items which cannot be put in a box. If there is an item you are unsure about, remember that we check all shoeboxes and remove unsuitable items. However, it would still be used for the good of the charity. Your donation would not be wasted.

Can I find out where my shoebox went?
YES but only if you make your £3 donation online. Simply download and print out the barcode provided once you’ve completed your donation, then place it inside your shoebox. Once we’ve processed your shoebox and confirmed its destination country, we will let you know by the end of January.

How can I partner with Operation Christmas Child?
We need volunteers every year in November and December. For more information check out our volunteer opportunities page or email connect@samaritans-purse.org.uk.

Can I write one cheque to cover all my boxes?
YES you can place this inside one of the shoeboxes or post it to our Head Office, Victoria House, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5EX. Cheques should be made payable to Samaritan’s Purse. If donors write one cheque, individuals will not need to place an envelope in their box unless they want to receive an e-mail ‘thank you’ report after the campaign. In this case, donors should make a note on the envelope that the cheque has been sent separately.

Who is behind Operation Christmas Child?
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is an initiative of Samaritan’s Purse UK, a Christian relief and development charity working amongst communities in need across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Find out more about us here.

Do you open my box before it gets to the child?
Yes. All boxes need to be checked by a volunteer at one of our warehouses in order to ensure the contents are appropriate and suitable for customs purposes in the receiving country. We then seal the boxes, which are next opened by the receiving child.

How do you use the £3 donation for each shoebox?
We ask for a minimum of £3 ‘shipping’ donation per shoebox. This covers UK transportation, overseas shipping and promotion, with any surplus going to the work of Samaritan’s Purse. If you do more than one shoebox, you can include a donation to cover all of your shoebox donations in one payment – just place it inside one of your shoeboxes on top of the contents.

Do you put Christian literature into the shoeboxes before they are shipped?
No. We have never put Christian literature into shoeboxes before they are shipped, nor do we ever intend to do so. Where appropriate, the local church or Christian partner distributing the shoeboxes may issue a free copy of a Christian booklet, The Greatest Gift. No-one is obliged to take this booklet. It is given to a child with their shoebox, not inside it; the only person opening shoeboxes after UK warehouse checks are completed is the child.