What Will Operation Christmas Child Look Like This Year?

Last updated: 13/10/20 For the latest Covid-19 updates click here

A global pandemic isn’t stopping Operation Christmas Child from delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls in the far corners of the world. Children need hope now more than ever in such uncertain times, and these tangible expressions of God’s love can be a great encouragement.



5 creative ways to pack during COVID-19
Drop-off Locations
Processing Centres
Receiving Countries



There are 2 ways to pack a shoebox this year:

1. Traditional – it’s still really easy to delight a child by packing a shoebox yourself in the traditional way and taking it to a reduced handling, socially distanced drop-off location near you.

Pick and pack a box yourself

2. Shoebox Online – If getting out is tricky this year, you can select your gifts online and we’ll pack and send your shoebox for you.

Choose your gifts online

The campaign might look a little different this year but our heart remains the same and we are excited to reach many more precious children with Good News and great joy this season.

Five Creative ways to pack shoeboxes during COVID-19

Five Creative ways to pack shoeboxes during COVID-19

1. Prepped and Ready to Pack

In order to encourage members of their church and community to pack shoeboxes, one church shared how they prepare shoebox bundles for people to collect at designated times. Bundles could include empty shoeboxes, and starter packs containing items such as bars of soap, felt tip pens and notepads, and tennis balls.

2. Social Distanced Packing at Church

Another church shared how they have opened up their building and provided shoebox stations complete with boxes and gift items ready for packing. Individual families can sign up for time slots to come and pack shoeboxes together, with other families in a socially distanced setting. Packing stations are disinfected between time slots and families!

3. Down to Business

A chiropractor plans to encourage shoebox packing at her workplace by setting up a Christmas tree in her lobby, and making space for patients to drop off gift items for shoeboxes, or pick up boxes to take home and fill on their own.

4. Home Alone

Even if you’re self-isolating, there are creative ways you can pack shoebox gifts. You can shop online yourself or create a shoebox item wish list on Amazon or other retail site to share with friends and family. You can also make your own gifts at home. For some great ideas and step-by-step instructions for making quality crafts visit our Crafts hub here.

5. Pack together online

How about holding a packing party via video call where people can enjoy watching Operation Christmas Child videos together and sharing what their household is packing this year.

Drop-off Locations

Drop-off Locations

Samaritan’s Purse plans to collect shoebox gifts in hundreds of locations across the UK this year, with each one operating a socially distanced system.

Find a Location Near You

You can find the nearest Drop-off Location using our dedicated look-up tool:

Find Nearest Drop-off Location

Don’t forget to check back regularly before National Collection Week (9th -16th Nov) as we are constantly adding new sites.

What to Expect When Dropping Off Shoeboxes

When you enter your local Drop-off Location, most locations will have a large box available for you to place your shoebox in. This removes the need to go within two metres of any of our volunteers. Please do wear a face covering and observe social distancing. If you are dropping off a large number of shoeboxes, feel free to go in and ask if some larger boxes can be brought out.

Please do not attend a drop-off location if you are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.

N.B. this video was filmed before face coverings became mandatory, please do wear one when dropping off your boxes.


Questions and Answers from our Project Leader Workshop

FAQ’s – Questions and Answers from our Project Leader Workshop

How will the rule of six affect Operation Christmas Child?

Are Schools still able to take part?

How will local lockdowns affect drop-off locations and National Collection Week?

For more FAQs visit our COVID-19 updates page Latest COVID-19 Updates

Processing Centres

Processing Centres

This year, Samaritan’s Purse plans to process shoebox gifts at three different locations across the UK. Volunteer registration for these processing centres is now open. Learn More

N.B. Some elements of this clip were filmed prior to face coverings became mandatory

Our current plans include:

  • Volunteers will be asked to wear face coverings, so please bring one with you.
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the facilities.
  • The temperature of all volunteers will be checked upon arrival and staff temperatures will be monitored daily as well.
  • Designated staff will clean and sanitize the properties frequently.
  • Our newly-developed processing procedures will allow volunteers and staff to social distance while serving with those from other groups.
  • Our processes have been inspected by Public Health officials and approved

Receiving countries

Receiving Countries

The health and safety of our staff, local partners, and beneficiaries is of utmost importance to us. Samaritan’s Purse is constantly monitoring COVID-19 trends around the world. In addition, Operation Christmas Child is working directly with our international volunteer leadership teams in over 100 countries to assess ongoing ministry activity with some modifications according to local government guidelines.

Operation Christmas Child UK Director, Nick Cole, shares about the impact of COVID-19 on The Greatest Journey and Operation Christmas Child globally:

Our overseas partners have shared with us that now, more than ever, it is important for children in their communities to have an opportunity to experience hope and joy and the shoebox gifts you so lovingly pack will enable them to offer this. This year we hope to send shoebox gifts from the UK to Albania, Belarus, Central Asia, Liberia and Nigeria. Will you partner with us?


Thank you for continuing to bring Good News and great joy to the world’s children at a time when the need is greater than ever.