Operation Christmas Child of Samaritan's Purse has partnered with the film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, set for release on Dec. 10. Operation Narnia encourages Narnia fans to join the effort to show the love of Christ to millions of children around the world with shoebox gifts.
"We're very excited to participate in the upcoming release of the movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse. "We want children around the world to know the true meaning of Christmas -- the birth of Jesus Christ -- and the joy and hope that this brings."
Randy Riddle, Operation Christmas Child's domestic director USA, says the partnership was a natural fit because of the film concepts and themes. "We believe that any fan of C.S. Lewis and the themes that he'd write about -- forgiveness, adventure, redemption -- are all things that will resonate with those who enjoy reaching out to children in the name of Jesus Christ through Operation Christmas Child. We just felt like it was a terrific match."
Since 1993 Operation Christmas Child has collected and distributed shoeboxes filled with small toys, hard candies, school supplies and hygiene products to millions of children. The gifts can be delivered to more than 3,000 drop-off locations nationwide, and the ministry coordinates distribution efforts. The program's National Collection Week runs Nov. 15 to Nov. 22.
Last year, Riddle says, the ministry collected more than 8.2 million boxes. The goal this year is to distribute 8.5 million gift boxes in more than 100 countries. He says they are hopeful and prayerful that the partnership with the film will help reach those who haven't yet heard about Operation Christmas Child.
This program is also continuing Samaritan's Purse's support of residents in Haiti, Riddle says, delivering more than 250,000 shoebox gifts to children living in the still devastated area.
"We believe that these shoebox gifts will deliver the gospel message to these children in a very creative and unique way and will remind those children that they are not forgotten and that someone here in the United States loves them and that there is a God who loves them and that He sent His Son to die for them," he explains. "This will hopefully, prayerfully be an introduction for Jesus Christ for these children."
He reiterates that although the ministry talks about a lot of numbers, "it really is an individual gift to an individual child," and for some children, these gifts are the first they have ever received.
To learn more about Operation Narnia, visit operationnarnia.org.
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