In response to Mr. Tom Siddon’s comments regarding the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child project (School district reworks policy on religious materials, June 15), I wish to correct some misinformation.
At no time during the processing, transportation or distribution steps of Operation Christmas Child is any literature, religious or otherwise, added to shoe boxes packed by our generous Canadian donors. Operation Christmas Child offers the shoe boxes, free of obligation, to all children at our distribution events. Where culturally acceptable, a booklet titled The Greatest Gift of All is offered after the shoe boxes have been distributed, but children and their parents are free to refuse these booklets, with no repercussions. In countries where Samaritan’s Purse is not permitted to speak the name of Jesus or offer Christian material, shoe boxes are still distributed.
Between eight and 10 days after a shoe box distribution event, children are invited (but not required) to attend a 12-lesson discipleship program called The Greatest Journey. We are proud of Operation Christmas Child and the difference that it is making in the lives of children and families around the world. We do not attempt to hide our Christian beliefs, but we do not make faith or interest in Jesus a prerequisite for children to receive shoe boxes.
We are sorry to hear about the Okanagan Skaha School Board’s policy but we understand the need for the school district to make difficult decisions. We do ask, however, that the decision to participate or not to participate be based on accurate information about our organization.
Operation Christmas Child Canada