The concept of Operation Christmas Child began on 10 October 1990, when Dave and Jill Cooke of Wrexham, Wales were watching a broadcast on Romanian orphanages. They asked the question: How can we help the real victims, the children, who live in these situations day after day? They knew they could not stop the wars, but they could offer something – the gift of love. Together, they filled a convoy of nine trucks with medical supplies, food, clothing and Christmas gifts for children, and headed into Romania, which had recently been devastated by war. This was the beginning of the world’s largest children’s Christmas program.
In 1993, Franklin Graham, International President of Samaritan’s Purse, adopted Operation Christmas Child. Since then, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been delivered to hurting children in more than 135 countries.