News: Quick Takes

Operation Christmas Child continues despite rising costs, supply chain issues

Volunteers pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child, file photo courtesy of samaritanspurse.org
Volunteers pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child, file photo courtesy of samaritanspurse.org

Rampant inflation, supply chain issues, and the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t dampening the Christmas spirit at the international Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse.

Volunteers are hard at work this week collecting shoeboxes filled with gifts for needy children across the globe. Operation Christmas Child began in 1993 as a simple way to deliver shoebox gifts — filled with school supplies, hygiene items, and toys —to children worldwide.

The ministry has delivered more than 188 billion shoebox gifts to children in more than 170 countries and territories. This year, it expects to reach another 9.7 million children.

“In the midst of the pandemic, children around the world need to know that God loves them and there is hope,” said Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham. “A simple shoebox gift opens the door to share about the true hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

The ambitious charity effort is taking place in an environment where the cost of consumer goods has accelerated rapidly. Earlier this month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that in October the Consumer Price Index rose 0.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The CPI is up 6.2% over the past 12 months, not seasonally adjusted, which is the fastest inflation rate since November 1990.

National Collection Week takes place the third week of November each year, with more than 4,000 drop-off locations open across the country manned by nearly 270,000 volunteers. There is still time this week to fill a shoebox — find a drop-off location near you here or mail a shoebox to the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone or Charlotte.