12 December 2014
60,000 shoeboxes airlifted to Northern Iraq
Samaritan's Purse airlifted 60,000 shoebox gifts to children from Syria and Iraq yesterday, who have been displaced by Islamic State (ISIS) militants.
The Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts are heading to Northern Iraq from Baltimore in the United States. Some of the boxes have also been sent from the UK as part of the massive airlift.
These shoeboxes are intended to extend God's love and joy to children in areas where Samaritan's Purse has been providing physical relief to individuals fleeing violent jihadists.
The Alliance member has local Christian partners who will distribute the gifts to children who have suffered tremendous loss —bringing a tangible demonstration of God's love to conflict-weary children. Toys, school supplies, hygiene items and personal notes in the shoeboxes are set to bring some joy and comfort in this difficult season.
All displaced Iraqi children have been stripped of their homes and most possessions;many endured difficult journeys to safety;some were further traumatised by seeing their parents or relatives killed or taken captive.
At the very beginning of 2014, a similar number of shoebox gifts were sent to Iraq for Syrian refugee children fleeing conflict in their homeland. This latest shipment will build on the impact of that earlier airlift.
More than 800,000 people are now in northern Iraq seeking refuge in camps and unfinished buildings. ISIS jihadists remain in control of large swaths of their country.
As temperatures fall now in areas around Dohuk and Erbil, Samaritan's Purse is focused on offering blankets, coats, children's clothing, plastic insulation, and other items to displaced families from Christian, Yazidi, Muslim and other backgrounds. They airlifted 80 tons of relief for this purpose in mid-October and the last of those items were distributed during the first week of December.
In total, Samaritan's Purse will collect and deliver around 10 million shoeboxes this year that will bring good news and great joy to children in over 100 countries. "The most important thing is to pray," Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan;s Purse, said. "We ask people to pray for the child who will get the box. We know God hears the prayer of one righteous person. Can you imagine 10 million people praying for 10 million children? We want the children to know about God, who loves them, who has not forgotten them, who sent His Son from heaven to earth."
More shoeboxes can be packed online at Shoebox