Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 04:18:48 PM EST
I hate to be among the first to use the 'C' word, but many of you (particularly those of you with school age children) may shortly be receiving requests to fill shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for needy children worldwide.
A reminder that the organisation Operation Christmas Child is a division of the evangelical organisation
Samaritan's Purse. According to their website, Samaritan's purse:
provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on missions outreach while focussing on the true meaning of Christmas-Jesus Christ, God's greatest gift. Along with shoebox gifts, millions of children are given Gospel booklets in their own language.
I haven't seen this year's leaflet, but in the past it hasn't always been immediately obvious that this is an evangelical organisation. My local (and multi-ethnic) primary school was not aware of the evangelical aspect of Operation Christmas Child until I asked questions about its appropriateness. It has now started sending boxes via a secular organisation (see below).
Not wanting to support evangelism doesn't have to mean not giving at all. The British Humanist Society has a
list of alternative donations including
21st Century Child: the secular shoebox gift scheme now used by the local school.