A Year after Devastating Earthquake, Christmas Comes to China
April 27, 2009 - April 27, 2009 — Almost 105 tons of shoe box gifts were loaded onto an airplane at Charlotte Douglas Airport this morning. They will be distributed next week to children in China who survived the 2008 earthquake.
Immediately after the disaster, the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse sent a Boeing 747 cargo plane filled with urgently-needed supplies to Chengdu, China, where some 40,000 people were killed and 250,000 injured.
“Last year we sent the suffering people of China critical emergency aid, and now we want the children of that region to know that they aren’t forgotten," said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse. "We hope these gifts will be a source of hope as they continue to rebuild their lives.”
The 65,000 shoe boxes were collected as part of Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child (OCC) project. Although National Collection Week for shoe box gifts is Nov. 16-23, Operation Christmas Child is not limited to just the holiday season. It is a year-round project, requiring months of organization and preparation to reach millions of kids around the world.
This airlift and the one-year anniversary of the China earthquake is a unique opportunity for the project to reach hurting children, regardless of the season, said Graham, who was meeting with government and church leaders in Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai during the quake.
The boxes convey to the children that "God loves them and they are dear to His heart," he said today. "But the most important ingredient in any shoebox is prayer," he added. "Please pray for every child who will receive one."
Even in challenging economic times, said Graham, "every person wants to be able to help someone else. Shoeboxes are an inexpensive way to do that."
"Today's airlift is an encouragement to the growing church in China," Graham concluded. "Any time someone comes in from the outside, it's a big help and encouragement."
OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT CHINA:
Franklin Graham Preaches to 12,000 in China
China Earthquake: Aid in the Aftermath
Open Doors in China
A Legacy of Love for China
Ruth Bell Graham's Childhood in China