The idea behind this is that people can pack their own unused shoeboxes with Christmas presents for disadvantaged children from poorer countries and this charity delivers these gifts to them. This sounds like a good idea but when you think about, people are gifting things like stuffed toys and dolls to kids in places that don’t even have supplies like water? Like, what is even the point of that when it would be much more beneficial to give them something that would be more helpful in the long term. Though I do agree children would probably enjoy the toys a lot, it just doesn’t seem like it should be a very high priority. Not only this but during the actual packing process, the form required to be filled in with the shoebox makes you choose whether the box is for a boy or girl. Well, no, don’t enforce these gender stereotypes onto everyone because that is fucked up and dumb.
So this morning at school, two girls in the year below made a notice about this charity. My year had been made to do this back when we were in year 7 until year 8 or 9 and I never knew how problematic it was BUT NOW I FUCKING DO. They showed us a video and from the start you could tell it was preachy as fuck. The stuff we were shown a few years ago weren’t like this, I don’t think, but in this video, the evangelical aspect was so obvious. In 0:33, for example, when it says “the greatest gift of all is Jesus Christ” and the child goes on to talk about how great Christ was.
If you’re new to my blog, please don’t get the wrong idea - I am not against charity or religion in any way except when it causes problems and is not beneficial to the people involved. The problem with the shoebox appeal is that they are DODGY AS FUCK and run by a preachy evangelical charity that is led by the fundamentalist, Franklin Graham. Graham is a racist, homophobic mofo and has called Islam “a very evil and a very wicked religion” as well as backing up Chik-Fil-A’s homophobic stance. Oh, and he also condones America using “weapons of mass destruction if need be”! So clearly, he is a kind and loving guy who is fit to run a charity.
So how exactly is this charity so preachy and dodgy then?
✭ They go to other cultures and try to convert them to Christianity.
✭ They are deliberately misleading about the evangelical, missionary aspect of their gift giving.
Nowhere in their videos do they mention the Christian literature or their follow up discipleship program.
✭ They suggest that participating in the shoebox appeal could earn awards for schools which is false.
”Participating in Operation Christmas Child can help your school fulfil a number of the criteria required for the International Schools Status/Award”
✭ They are not truthful about information such as budget and expenses regarding their charity.
✭ They enforce gender stereotyping with their separate boxes for different genders.
✭ It’s run by a racist, homophobic fundamentalist.
You can check their review on BBB and it shows that they do not meet quite a few of the standards for charity accountability. As well as this, there are many things BBB can’t verify to do with Samaritan’s Purse because they didn’t actually send the information, like their program expenses and if their fundraising information is truthful/not misleading. The fact that they hide this sort of information is so problematic and shows that they aren’t doing what they should be. Transparency is so important with charities so people can know exactly who they are giving to and how they are helping. Any charity that isn’t transparent just implies that they have something to hide, in my opinion.
Although on their site, they have an FAQ saying that they don’t require the children to be Christians nor do they force Christian literature with the shoeboxes but the message is still very apparent. Furthermore, the US site is very different to the UK one. While there are many questions about the missionary aspects on the UK site, there is no mention on the US version. And on this page about the impact of this appeal, they talk about children receiving the literature and that “there is hope that she too will find Christ’s love.” If that doesn’t sound preachy to you, then I don’t even know lol.
A page from ‘The Greatest Gift’ booklet. Like, that fucking prayer, what the shit. You don’t tell young kids stuff like they have sinned, especially those who are from different cultures that aren’t necessarily Christian and therefore don’t have the same ideas and values.
So if you are personally asked to be involved in this or know anyone who is involved, please tell them the actual facts! There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving to charity or using religion as a guideline for being charitable. But when it starts being harmful to the beneficiary, like the benefactors trying to convert people of other cultures to their Christian values, it just screams of shitty ‘white saviours’ helping the ~poor, uneducated people~ who are so misguided about life and that is So Not Raven.
There are many better alternatives to this such as Oxfam Unwrapped. There is a whole page of alternatives here as well as even more information about Operation Christmas Child.
I hope that wasn’t too long and confusing for people to read but basically tl;dr - Samaritan’s Purse is a dodgy as fuck charity and you should always research whatever charity you’re getting involved in!
Thank you for reading! (◉ ⩌ ◉)/♥