But Samaritan's Purse took issue with this assertion. "For many of these children, the gift-filled shoe box is the first gift they have ever received," a spokesman said. Operation Christmas Child was started in 1993 and has since delivered over 124 million boxes worldwide, along with a Christian message.
"No matter where we go, we don't hide the fact that we are Christians. Shoe-box gifts are given through the local church to children, but shoe-box gifts are given to children regardless of religious affiliation and with no strings attached."