In the wake of a vicious hurricane season, U.S. families have a better understanding of fear and suffering, as well as compassion.
Mark and Cherry Brumbelow, whose home in Wild Peach, Texas was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, have put aside their own needs to make sure children from storm-ravaged Barbuda know they are loved and not forgotten.
The Brumbelows travelled more than 2,000 miles to deliver Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts—filled with hygiene items, school supplies and fun toys—to every Barbudan child who has taken refuge in Antigua after losing their homes to Hurricane Irma earlier this fall.
“When you’ve lost everything, small acts of kindness make a big difference,” said Mark Brumbelow, whose church of 30 people packed more than 8,000 shoebox gifts this year. “We have been blessed and now want to be a blessing to children whose circumstances are far worse than our own. Every child deserves to experience the joy of Christmas, regardless of the season.”
The Brumbelow’s commitment to help children in need is echoing across the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers coast-to-coast are packing gift-filled shoeboxes for children around the world, including young hurricane victims.
During National Collection Week (Nov. 13 – 20), nearly 5,000 drop-off sites were open in the U.S. to receive shoebox gifts. From there, the shoebox gifts will make the long journey overseas, travelling by any means necessary—boat, plane, train and even elephant—until they reach the hands of children living in extreme poverty or affected by war, disease, disaster and famine.
In 2017, Operation Christmas Child- a project of international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse- hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 12 million children.
While Operation Christmas Child recognises the importance of restoring hope to the most vulnerable victims of these storms, children, Samaritan’s Purse actively continues to meet the immediate physical needs.
Samaritan’s Purse disaster response teams are helping thousands of families devastated by hurricanes in the Caribbean, Texas, and on the coast of Florida. The North Carolina-based organisation has airlifted more than 753 tons of emergency supplies to the devastated Caribbean islands. Through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse aims to make sure young hurricane victims know they are cared for this Christmas season.