February 24, 2024

RACINE, Ohio – Back-to-school is a chance to collect supplies for Operation Christmas Child.

With school supplies filling store shelves and aisles, Wanda Shuler is making use of back-to-school prices to purchase gifts and essential items for children in need around the world. Shuler is collecting school supplies, along with personal care items and fun toys, to pack in shoeboxes.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver these gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries.

“As a retired teacher I realize the importance of children having school supplies to help them learn and be creative,” said Church Relations team member Shuler of Racine, who has packed shoeboxes for 16 years. “Back to school sales on school supplies is the perfect time to purchase the items for the shoeboxes and involve my grandchildren in helping others.”

For many children, access to these simple items is essential to an education. This was the case for Justin Thomas, a shoebox recipient in Southeast Asia whose parents could not afford the supplies needed to send him to school. “I know what it is like to not have enough money for basic school supplies,” said Thomas, whose experience is not uncommon for many children living in poverty.

Thomas remembers the specific day he received a gift-filled shoebox from Operation Christmas Child and found it filled with the school supplies he needed. “When I opened the gift, it had a brand-new pack of pencils. It was the first gift I owned that was truly mine and that was so special for me. These gifts can truly impact a child’s life forever,” said Thomas.

This simple gift made a life-changing impact for Thomas because it opened the doors for him to receive an education.

To learn how to make a difference for a child by packing a shoebox, or to learn more about Operation Christmas Child special events in this area, such as the annual Project Leader Workshops coming up in September, contact Wanda Shuler at (740) 416-1703 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.

National Collection Week is Nov. 13-20. Participants can donate $10 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline 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. Many shoeboxes built online go to hard-to-reach countries.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 209 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 170 countries and territories. This year, Operation Christmas Child will celebrate its 30th year of ministry.