COVID-19 impacts Operation Christmas Child collections

| August 11, 2020


The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted everyday life in some way for nearly everyone on the planet. Yet Samaritan’s Purse continues its Operation Christmas Child shoe-box program.

The National Collection Week is Nov. 16-23, and staff and volunteers are already preparing for any adjustments that need to be made in light of the current health crisis.
Following local guidelines in each receiving country, organizers anticipate being able to distribute shoe-box gifts internationally and are working with local staff and volunteers.
Another option is to build a shoe box online. It’s a convenient and personal way to give shoe-box gifts directly from home. You make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts, then adding a letter and a photo. OCC volunteers will pack it for you and send it. To build an online shoe box, go to and click on the link, Build a Shoebox!
Check out some frequently asked questions below. If you still have additional questions, email [email protected].
People may not be able to host a packing party at church, impacting the number of boxes packed. Any suggestions?
OCC strongly encourages packing parties to follow local government guidelines. If your church or group shoe-box goal is impacted by COVID-19, you may want to consider Build a Shoebox online.
What adjustments will be made to drop-off locations to ensure safe collection?
With nearly 5,000 drop-off locations planned in 2020, it is understood each community, county and state may be at a different phase of COVID-19 recovery during National Collection Week. Samaritan’s Purse is developing resources and procedures for drop-off locations to customize their collection to ensure the safety and well-being of both donors and volunteers. This may include providing required personal protective equipment to developing procedures for a touch-free experience for donors.
Will there still be volunteer processing at the end of the year? 
Samaritan’s Purse continues to plan for a traditional processing season with volunteers, but it understands disease trends may prevent this from occurring. In this case contingency plans are being developed that would still allow volunteers to process shoe boxes even if social distance restrictions are needed. Also, additional personal protective equipment will be readily available, and additional cleaning protocols are being developed for all processing centers in 2020.
If people can’t gather, why would kids be gathering?
The health and safety of the staff, local partners and beneficiaries is of the utmost importance. Samaritan’s Purse is constantly monitoring COVID-19 trends around the world. In addition, Operation Christmas Child is working directly with its international volunteer leadership teams in over 100 countries to assess ongoing ministry activity with some modifications, according to local government guidelines.
Should participants be shopping for shoe-box items during this time?
Samaritan’s Purse and the Operation Christmas Child team encourages everyone to follow local guidelines and use personal discernment to shop for shoe-box items. Many stores are opening around the country, and online shopping is a popular method for participants. At this time there are no changes as to what can and can’t be packed in shoe-box gifts this year.
Visit the group’s social-media channels and for the latest information.

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