‘It’s the joy of my lifetime’: Operation Christmas Child seeks to inspire ahead of giving season

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) -Anabel Rosario grew up in a house made of cardboard boxes in the Dominican Republic….

At the age of ten, she got a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child full of gifts, and a letter from a stranger that she’s kept to this day.

Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes packed with both practical and fun items for kids in need around the world.

One of the 200 million kids that have been gifted a shoebox in the past 30 years is Anabel Rosario. The family that packed her box included a photo and a handwritten letter that Rosario has held onto for years.

“Those items were the most important ones because I felt loved,” she said. “I feel that God was using someone that doesn’t even know me to send me back gifts to impact my life.”

Rosario was gifted that ten years before she lost her father, mother and sister in a tragic accident. Those gifts from strangers turned into her biggest reminders of love.

“These became an answer to my prayer when I was a little girl, and a reminder of God’s faithfulness now that I’m an adult,” Rosario said.

Today, Rosario travels across the states to inspire communities to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. She’s currently traveling through Nebraska and stopped in Lincoln to tell her story.

Though Samaritan’s Purse, the organization behind the shoeboxes, is a faith-based organization, everyone is encouraged to help pack a box and spread joy throughout the world.

“It takes all of us, from packing shoe boxes to promoting Operation Christmas Child,” said Regional Manager Gia Moser. “You don’t have to be a Christian to pack a shoe box.”

Samaritan’s Purse is hoping to reach 11 million children this year, which is something that organizers see as an incredible opportunity.

“It’s a privilege,” Moser said. “It’s the joy of my lifetime.”

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