Operation Christmas Child 'shoebox appeal'
During the autumn term of 2013, SACRE received a number of queries relating to the Operation Christmas Child ‘shoebox appeal' which many Surrey schools have been involved in. Many schools see this as one way in which they can help children in need across the world, and Operation Christmas Child is very grateful for your support.
Last year Rachel Boxer, RE Adviser to Surrey SACRE, spoke to helped answer your queries by speaking to Roger Fenton, the Regional Manager for Operation Christmas Child, volunteers who help check the boxes as they come into the warehouse, and with charity workers who accompany the boxes to their destination.
This year Surrey SACRE would like to clarify the following points to help answer your queries:
- Operation Christmas Child is a programme run by Samaritan’s Purse, which has Christian foundations; they make this clear in the leaflets that are sent to any schools participating in the scheme. SACRE recommends, in turn, that all schools make this clear in their communications with parents, so that parents can make informed choices about their child’s participation in the scheme.
- Operation Christmas Childvolunteers are very happy to visit any schools either before, during or after ‘shoebox season’ to answer any questions that children, teachers, governors or parents might have.
- Through our conversations with Operation Christmas Child we have ascertained that:
- before leaving the warehouse, all boxes are thoroughly checked and any religious items, or items relating to war, are removed
- the shoeboxes are sent to locations of need across the world and are distributed with the help of local churches to ensure that no child is missed out
- the shoeboxes are given as a free gift, no strings attached, regardless of culture or belief
- some churches distributing shoeboxes may also offer a little book of Bible stories to children receiving shoeboxes; these books are not put into shoeboxes but given with the shoeboxes
- funding for the books of Bible stories is raised separately by Samaritan’s Purse, not by or through Operation Christmas Child.
SACRE hopes that this will help schools in their communication with parents regarding this initiative.