Critics say Samaritan’s Purse is trying to convert poor children to Christianity.
With Christmas around the corner, children in Wales will pack shoeboxes with presents. The boxes will then be shipped all over the world to little girls and boys who are in desperate need of Christmas cheer. Among all the many shoebox schemes, one of the most popular ones is the one administered by Samaritan's Purse, named Operation Christmas Child.
Some have opposed the shoebox scheme as Samaritan's Purse is a fundamentalist evangelical U.S. missionary organization. The children who receive the boxes also get a bible story book, named The Greatest Gift. The book has a total of 12 bible lessons offered by the churches who deliver the gift to their recipients. The promotional literature hosted by Samaritan's Purse website says Operation Christmas Child has provided 157 million children with much-wanted gifts.
The program has many supporters. They argue that this scheme epitomizes the true spirit of Christmas. It is wonderful to see children assisting children. The program helps children in the poorest countries and teaches volunteer participants the paramount importance of kindness. The same has been echoed by Samaritan's Purse. A spokesperson of the organization said the existence of Operation Christmas Child is to let deprived children understand that people remember them, and they are much loved.
Proud of my kiddos and their giving hearts ♥️ October’s community service project Operation Christmas Child was a success♥️ pic.twitter.com/3jc7Zhp9ZC
— Stephanie Parsley (@stephparsley31) November 7, 2018
The Samaritan Purse's promotional literature states that the shoeboxes represent the Christmas spirit. The organization partners with thousands of community groups and a large number of local churches all over the world to deliver large quantities of gifts, running to the millions. The recipients are poor children, and those who have suffered or suffer from war, famine, natural disaster, and terror. According to the organization, many children who receive a shoebox as a gift have never before received any sort of gift.
Critics differ. There are multiple accusations that the shoeboxes are vehicles used by Samaritans Purse for converting the recipient from his or her faith to evangelical Christianity. The religion disseminated can be described as a fundamentalist one. The recipient countries are mostly those with substantial Muslim populations. Those who are against this scheme point out that the gifts are distributed through an "outreach event." The book given is conversion grade Christian literature. Recipient children are encouraged to enroll in a Christian indoctrination program. According to the program's detractors, it is horrible to take advantage of poverty in this manner.