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Edward Graham: VP of Operations at Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child sends gifts to underprivileged children around the world to ensure every kid feels joy and love on Christmas Day. For the past 30 years, Operation Christmas Child has donated shoeboxes filled with toys, books, games, notebooks, essential care items, and more that are packed by individuals, families, and groups. Learn more about their work here!

Can you tell me about your mission?

Operation Christmas Child collects shoebox gifts filled with fun toys, school supplies, and personal care items—and delivers them to children in need around the world. For many of these children, the filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, which currently works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

What does the packing process entail?

People fill empty shoeboxes with school supplies, personal care items, and fun toys, such as dolls or soccer balls. Participants can donate $10 per shoebox gift online through Follow Your Box and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Participants who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse our website to select gifts matched to a child's specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Where do the boxes go?

We go to the out-of-bound places, the ends of the earth. There’s no greater need and no greater time for us to go out and serve boldly, and we do it through Operation Christmas Child. Since 1993, we’ve collected and delivered more than 209 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 170 countries and territories. Shoebox gifts are collected in Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. 

What made this year your most successful Christmas yet? 

This year, Operation Christmas Child is celebrating our 30th year! In 2023, we hope to collect enough shoeboxes to reach another 11 million children. Tens of thousands of generous volunteers contributed by packing shoeboxes with gifts and delivering them to children in more than 100 countries. This season, children around the world need a tangible reminder that there is hope, and we provide that through shoebox gifts. 


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