(RNS) An organization of nonbelievers is threatening legal action against public schools that participate in an evangelical Christian charity that delivers Christmas toys to poor children.

A child receives a gift from Operation Christmas Child. Photo courtesy Samaritan's Purse

A child receives a gift from Operation Christmas Child. Photo courtesy Samaritan’s Purse


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The American Humanist Association, a national advocacy organization with 20,000 members nationwide, sent letters this week to two public elementary schools after parents complained their children were being asked to collect toys and money for Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical relief organization founded by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. Its stated mission is “to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel.”

The toys collected by Operation Christmas Child come with an invitation for recipients to accept Christianity. Since its founding in 1993, Operation Christmas Child has sent 100 million boxes of toys to poor children.

According to the humanist association, East Point Academy in West Columbia, S.C., has organized a toy drive and raised funds for the charity for at least three years. A second school, SkyView Academy in Highlands Ranch, Colo., has participated for “several years” and has acknowledged packaging 500 toy boxes in 2012.

Both schools received letters from the AHA informing them their actions are unconstitutional. The same day it received the letter, East Point Academy said it would cut its ties with the charity out of “an abundance of caution because we do not want to expend school financial resources defending a lawsuit.”

Monica Miller, legal counsel for the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said the schools are violating the First Amendment’s guarantee of the separation of church and state and its ban against government endorsement of religion.

“There is also a problem of a lack of transparency,” she said. “One of the parents was not aware of the Christian nature (of Operation Christmas Child) and he let his kids participate because he assumed the school would not promote religion.”

In its letter to the schools, AHA described the toys as “bribes,” and Miller said schoolchildren were also promised incentives for participation, such as pizza parties and free dress days.

Kelly Wells, a spokeswoman for the DeMoss Group, a public relations firm that represents Samaritan’s Purse, said in an email that the organization is aware that public schools participate in its annual toy drive but does not know how many are involved.

“The project is very clear in its marketing material and website that its mission is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world,” Wells wrote. “Therefore, Operation Christmas Child’s goal is to to generate participation in and through local churches and like-minded groups . . . Of course, any person or group is welcome to participate in packing shoebox gifts if they so choose.”

The AHA has not yet heard from the Colorado school, and Miller said the association will pursue a lawsuit if the school does not terminate its participation.

KRE/MG END WINSTON

58 Comments

  1. “not aware of the Christian nature (of Operation Christmas Child)”
    okay…

    On the one hand, I agree, public schools should not be involved in proselytizing.

    On the other, AHA sounds like a religious-phobic organization. Same as people who protest yoga in school, and irrationally see religion in general as a bad thing that must be done away with. Their letter invokes athuority they do not have, and it’s a bit funny how they capitalize “helping in Jesus’s name”, as if the very mention should scandalize. Samaritan’s Purse is providing toys to poor kids. I doubt many will even read the note attached, and quite frankly I’d rather she Christians involved in this activity than protesting Gay Marriage. PR of picking your battles aside, a lawsuit would only hurt tax players and students. Sounds like they’re hoping that will extort cooperation.

    • The AHA is hardly religious-phobic. They just actively oppose using tax dollars for prosletyzing. That sort of thing is more protective of religion than opposing it. Our government is not in the employ of Christianity nor should it ever appear to be so. Your God doesn’t need my tax dollars, ever.

      Your argument about picking battles and wasting taxpayer funds is disingenuous. Taxpayer money should never have been involved in this effort to begin with. One should blame the fools in the school system for bringing it in, not the people objecting to it (in furtherance of our laws and Constitutionally protected religious freedoms). It belonged in a church or religious school. Not a public school.

      On a side note Franklin Graham’s program is far beyond the pale of religiously inspired scummy behavior. Charity in exchange for prosletyzing is disgusting. Its preying on the weakness of others for personal gain. It is not charity. Its extortion. If Graham’s group were truly charitable, this whole issue would not exist.

      • Going off the text in the letter, it sounds like the objection is mainly that the group is religious in nature. They are also providing free gifts, not essentials, nor do I see anywhere that the gift is taken back if the child doesn’t accept Jesus. I can’t see how that is extortion. It’s marketing at worst.

        For the school’s part, they probably only wanted to get their students involved charitable giving. Aside for some time set aside, I hardly see this costing tax players. Again, the point about them not getting involved in prosletyzing is taken. However, getting involved in charity, especially this time of year, is common practice. A lot of these charities are religious in nature. For example, in the desert valley where I live, about a dozen cities and towns, there are two shelters, both built by Christian groups. There are also a couple food banks at the far end, not religiously affiliated as far as I can tell, but no where as big an operation as the shelters. Schools doing food drives in November, and many do, are going to end up donating the bulk of that to religious organizations.

        • The school here in Columbia mentions in their letter that they also collect for Toys for Tots–a secular charity–so it’s not like they are abandoning their charity project entirely. Operation Christmas Child is blatantly religious and Samaritan’s Purse makes it clear that the main point of this project is to evangelize. Public schools have no business being involved in this and I am glad that one of the schools in this matter is doing the right thing.

          Unrelated, if this type of “charity” weren’t counted, Christians wouldn’t have such a good track record on giving they seem to.

          • Toy for Tots is an excellent alternative, I’m glad to hear that.

            On the unrelated, “if you only counted part of what Christians give, they wouldn’t appear to give as much as when you count all of it,” is basically what you’re saying. SP is a high rated and trusted charity with an attractive message. Only if it ceased to exist, and Christian donors didn’t send those dollars to other charities could you make that qualified statement.

          • We live in the greatest country in the world, our country separated from Britain to gain freedom to worship and many other freedoms. Thirteen colonies won against the greatest nation at that time because they had God on their side. They began our country making sure that our countries principles were based on the Bible so much so they even put In God We Trust on our currency. If you look at many of the monuments you will see scripture written on a lot of them. I feel that if their 20,000 or so don’t like our country being based on God’ s principles and sharing Message in whatever way possible then leave it. Go to another country and raise the roof over their freedoms. Oh and by the way if you don’t believe in spreading God’s message then give all things and everything you have that even hints at being a christian especially your money that says In God We Trust and leave. See how much freedom you have elsewhere.

          • @Dana
            Wow, that is exactly the kind of self-serving tone deaf response one expects from people who engage in obnoxious behavior to “spread their faith”.

            Do you think it might be a little tasteless to talk about feeding one’s soul when they are desperate to feed their bellies?
            Do you see where this can be a bit coercive?
            Do you are doing something for Jesus, any behavior can be
            justified?

            Linking charity to prosletyzing cheapens both activities. It gives the impression of bribery, coercion or being oblivious to the needs of the people they are claiming to help in favor of self-serving recruitment.

            Given the offensive behavior of some charities in turning away volunteers for sectarian reasons, one gets the impression that the charity part is less important than the prosletyzing. Helping people to survive being less important than browbeating people into belief.

        • “Going off the text in the letter, it sounds like the objection is mainly that the group is religious in nature”

          And you would only be half right and grossly misrepresenting the nature of the objection. It is that the group’s nature is TO PROSLETYZE and they are using public facilities to do it. There is no way to make that legal. It is pure sectarian endorsement by government.

          “For the school’s part, they probably only wanted to get their students involved charitable giving. Aside for some time set aside, I hardly see this costing tax players. ”

          You are such a mendacious piece of garbage. If the group was truly interested in charity, they would blatantly not tack on the proseltyzing efforts with the distribution of gifts.

          • “If the group was truly interested in charity, they would blatantly not tack on the proseltyzing efforts with the distribution of gifts.”

            If someone believes that Christ as the greatest gift of all, then why wouldn’t they want to share that message with the distribution of physical gifts? Just because the message isn’t something you like or agree with doesn’t mean 1) people who both give AND proselytize aren’t interested in charity, and 2) the people who receive the gift & message don’t want to hear it. Yours is a very judgmental and inaccurate argument.

          • “Obnoxious” is a relative term. What is obnoxious to you may or may not be obnoxious to someone else.
            Do I think it’s tasteless to talk about feeding one’s soul when they are desperate to feed their bellies?
            No, I don’t think it is, because many people who are desperate to feed their bellies are having their needs met by people who are also sharing their faith, and many of these same hungry people can and have found solace in religion. Just because you haven’t doesn’t mean no one else can/has.
            Do I see where this can be a bit coercive?
            I believe people want to know how much you care before they care how much you know. So, if I’m going to tell people I’m a Christian, I better have my works to show for it (James 2, Matt 25). Of course, this can become coercive if the people of faith will only help those who have the same faith or those willing to convert. Unfortunately, this can happen, but it doesn’t mean it always happens. This article indicates that this charity did not refuse help to anyone if they were not Christian.
            Do I think as long as they are doing something for Jesus, any behavior can be
            justified?
            That is a slippery slope argument (logical fallacy) and is obviously not what I believe. Not everyone who does work in Christ’s name is doing it with the right intentions or in a way approved by God (Matthew 7:15-23, 1 John 4:1-11).
            I’m not sure what is self-serving about proselytizing, aside from the joy I feel when someone else finds joy in a relationship with God. I don’t make any money or anything off of it. It’s the same as when I give a gift to a friend. I don’t expect anything in return, I just want to give someone I love joy. It seems you have had terrible experiences with Christianity, and that’s unfortunate. I apologize on behalf of all people who profess Christ with their lips and their actions speak otherwise. In reality, all Christians are hypocrites to some degree, because we believe in loving everyone, but none of us actually do it all the time. We have one rule and we fail at that. That’s why I’m glad I have Christ, because He makes me worthy when I’m not on my own. I also know I’d be a lot less loving if it wasn’t for Him. I’m a work in progress.
            You probably still disagree with me, and that’s fine, just wanted to share this with you, as someone with a different background, opinion, and mindset. I hope we can still coexist in peace (Romans 12:18).

      • And – what harm would happen to these people if they are told about God? What’s the alternative? That’s what Christianity is based on – showing the love of Christ to all people – believers or not.

        • Since all taxpayers; including many of us who don’t believe the Jesus myth support the public schools; how about randomize the religious cards that accompany the gifts. Let 25% of them “show the love of jesus”. Another 25% can praise Allah and mention that Christians are infidels. Another quarter an extol the virtues of Buddha and polytheism; and lesser amounts can discuss Satanism, Wicca, Judaism, Atheism, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Darwinism and the beliefs of anyone else who wants to make up a card or two. Would you still be OK with it, or are you only OK when your religion gets the privilege?

          BTW—–The group can still give gifts, and they can still include proselytizing messages. They just can’t use the public schools.

      • It’s not charity in exchange for prosletyzing. The kids get the toys no matter what the kids choose to do. The charity is just trying to get the kids to see that a true Christian believes in giving without expecting to receive in return, as does any truly good person, so these kids will keep their faith in humanity and maybe become Christians. No obligation involved. I agree that people in public organizations like schools should not be pressured to be involved with religion in any way. But I don’t think the charity approves of that, either. It’s just hard for them to keep track of that or do things to fix that because they’re a huge charity, and I don’t think a school should get sued for this because they have more important costs. They should be forced to either stop their affiliation with this charity or be closed down and have the kids and teachers go elsewhere for school and work. I think schools should be involved with charities, just not ones with religious affiliations because if the kids in any way feel obligated to believe in a religion, they’ll probably just end up thinking religion is a bad thing, and we can’t have any more disagreements over religion in this world.

      • This is an open message to all who fight to keep religion out of the public federal and state funded lands, buildings, and any other and all institutions.
        WHY DO YOU CONTINUALLY INSIST UPON TARGETING THE CHRISTIAN PEOPLE? DO NOT THE DEVIL WORSHIPERS GET A FREE PASS WITH EVERY MASCOT AND PAGAN SYMBOL THAT GOES ON UNDISTURBED WITHOUT A SINGLE PERSON SO MUCH AS BATTING AN EYE? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. YOU CLAIM TO DESIRE FREEDOM OF RELIGION, THEN DISCONTINUE YOUR CRUSADE AGAINST THE CHRISTIAN FAITH AND OPEN YOUR EYES TO ALL OTHER RELIGIONS (YES SATANISM IS A RELIGION) AND CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE DISCONTINUATION OF SUCH MASCOTS AND SYMBOLS. I MEAN YOU DO WANT SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN ALL FORMS RIGHT AND YOUR NOT JUST OUT ON A WITCH HUNT. I MEAN AN ORGANIZATION WITH SUCH A NOBEL CAUSE AS TO KILL GOD WOULDN’T JUST ISOLATE AND TARGET ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE WOULD THEY, I MEAN THAT WOULD GO AGAINST THE PROGRESSIVE EQUALITY THAT YOU SO ADVOCATE. HMMM MAYBE YOU’RE JUST REALLY BUSY AT THE MOMENT OR THE MEMO TO TARGET ALL RELIGIONS SLIPPED BEHIND SOMEONES DESK.

      • This organization is not extortion. You assume that all this organization is trying to do is force people to become Christians but that is not the case. Does it not cross your mind that perhaps they are just trying to help people because they feel that it is what God is calling them to do? You do not have an objective view on the subject. It is understandable that public schools do not want to be linked with this organization strictly because of it’s religious background but to accuse this organization of do this strictly for proselyting is incorrect. Yes, the organization obviously wants to convert people to Christianity because it is what God calls them to do, but this is a charity event not a sneaky way of pushing people into Christianity. Also, if we want to help people in the world, it shouldn’t matter the religious background of the organization. You cannot expect just Christians to donate towards this charity. That is absurd. If you truly cared, the religious part wouldn’t matter as much as you seem to think it does.
        Also, you seem to think that this is a “world issue”. It is simply people giving children presents. It isn’t a world issue and it will never be “extinct”.

    • This is not the same as protesting yoga. Tying yoga to religion is a bit of a stretch (pun intended), while this project is a blatant indoctrination tool. Religion itself is irrational, not the desire to remove it. It’s also pretty lame the way you state that most kids probably won’t even read the note. What about the ones that do? If the notes so irrelevant, then why include it at all? If the note were removed, there would be NO PROBLEM, but the note is the whole point isn’t it? You’re attempt to minimize this fact says a lot. Any publicly funded school can not and should not be involved with an effort like this one for completely obvious reasons. How would you feel if you found out the toy box you helped provide to a poor child had a note in promoting satanism? It’s all OK as long as it’s your religion that’s being promoted, right? Wrong. Religion is a cancer, and everywhere that it grows there is conflict and cruelty.

      • How do you know it’s delusions? How does anyone really know for sure what’s true? We don’t, so none of us can fairly call anyone delusional. Maybe those who we’ve decided to put on medication were right to begin with and are crazy like us now because their medication worked the way we thought it would. We don’t know.

  2. ReasonableTheologian

    Re: Diego, “….They are also providing free gifts, not essentials,…”

    One of the suggestions with their gift boxes is to pack hygiene products as well, even something as basic as a toothbrush and toothpaste. These items go around the world into poverty stricken, and war torn countries.

    Toys for tots vs SP: A child in a poverty stricken village might be happy if they get a toy, but they are actually shown what to do with the hygiene products they receive. In addition to that, SP allies it self with several Christian and secular organizations around the world that have feeding programs for such children. You could give a hungry child a toy to distract them for a while, or you could give them something more.

    As someone that is involved in a local church food bank in a city in a very liberal area of the North East, and knowing about the food banks in the area, I can tell you that if you take away support from churches that provide community service, communities will suffer drastically. Let the AHA push their foot in that door too, and see the incredible amount of hurt it will cause. Why? Whether you like it or not, Christians, and some other religious groups, are taught to sacrificially care about people year round and the drive is a part of their faith. Take the faith aspect away, and the only person an individual is accountable to is themselves. Why would such a person serve? Either because of a great sense of civic duty (which I have seen, and respect), or because they want to feel good about themselves. This seems to peak around the holidays, of course.

    The unfair amount of flack an organization such as SP receives is evidence of an already broken society bent on destroying itself and eroding the hands that have fed the poor historically, under the guise of justice.

    Suppose the AHA stopped all religious non profits from receiving funding to feed the poor. What would I tell the families/elderly folks that our food pantry feeds, who DO NOT come to my church, that because of the AHA, we no longer have sufficient supplies to support all our patrons? Would you tell them to go to the 1 tiny secular food bank in town because the dozen other, religious-backed food banks would have to make the same drastic cuts?

    • ” Let the AHA push their foot in that door too, and see the incredible amount of hurt it will cause”

      Are the food banks delivering sermons with the food? Probably not.
      Are they using public funds to deliver sermons? Probably not.

      Therefore no harm, no offense.

      What you seem to be missing (or deliberately misconstruing) is not that religious groups are engaging in charity, NOBODY has a problem with that. Your argument is strawman nonsense.

      The argument is that they are engaging in prosletyzing primarily with charitable distribution being a happy bonus. Worse still they do so using public resources to engage in proseltyzing. There is no excuse for that.

  3. How very sad! I live in England and I am a Sunday school teacher, a member of my PCC and an active parent at my younger daughter’s school. On the flip side, my husband thinks religion is a good excuse for a war.
    Each year my own children gain great pleasure in putting together a box full of things that they enjoy playing with (and that includes hats, gloves, tooth brushes and colouring pencils as well as toys) and the reason that they do it? Not because it spreads the word of God (my children are 9 and 12 and fully understand what SP is all about, albeit in a very much simplified way for the younger one) No. It’s so that they get a chance to make another child feel as excited as they do when they get their Christmas stockings – they like to play at being Santa.
    Drug addicts living on the streets get high as it takes away the pain of their misery. It’s not right – no-one should have to live on the streets but it’s a fact of life, sadly. Why not use this parallel for disadvantaged children in countries affected by war and disease where it is always the vulnerable that suffer the most? Does it really hurt to give a child the chance to feel good, however briefly and for them to realise that somewhere someone is trying to do just a tiny bit to make them feel better. These children will only get the shoe box experience once but I have no doubt they will remember it for the rest of their lives as well as the love and support of the teachers, aid workers and ministers that brought them to them. Just knowing that someone is there to talk to is a big deal in any child’s life, especially when you’re own family isn’t there to guide you.
    I totally understand that everyone has a right to their own way of thinking and to be allowed to have their say, but why is it that those who are trying to do some good are the ones that are penalised? If SP was putting drugs into the tubes of toothpaste or guns into the boxes then I could understand someone getting upset. But until the Humanist Association is able to provide the support and time that SP can perhaps they should be more concerned with looking at the good in the work that is being done rather than looking at ways to prevent them from putting a smile on a child’s face.
    After all, religion has two sides and as I once heard two people can look at a knife and think different things: an implement to help (eating utensil, scalpel for surgery) or one to hinder (a bayonet or flick knife). It’s what you do with it that matters…

  4. It’s interesting how the American Humanist Assn. pops up when it involves Christianity. I’ll have to keep them apprised of some other issues where they can pop up, but I doubt that they will like the “un-PC” nature of it. For starters, maybe they can get some people off the NYC streets who pray and block traffic.

    • Its not charity if you are doing it for an ulterior motive such as proseltyzing.

      What this Christian group does is not charity. It is bribery. Because Christian Fundamentalism feels the need to use coercion and deception in order to spread.

      • How, exactly, is what Operation Christmas Child does deception? I can see the argument for coercion (I disagree, but can see why you might believe that), but I haven’t seen anything that qualifies as deception.

        • How is it deception? They didn’t exactly advertise the prosletyzing nature of the charity to the public.

          From the article:

          “There is also a problem of a lack of transparency,” she said. “One of the parents was not aware of the Christian nature (of Operation Christmas Child) and he let his kids participate because he assumed the school would not promote religion”

          • It says “one parent.” The charity and the school shouldn’t be expected to be perfect at reaching everybody.

    • You don’t see anything manipulative about including the note with the toys? If the point is just to make kids happy with some gifts, then the note is not even important. The fact that they insist on including it reveals the true motive. It’s really quite sick.

  5. So here is a question for the people who support Operation Christmas Child operating in public schools. Would they also support a group that seeks to win converts for Islam by sending boxes of gifts to children around the world and promote this in U.S. public schools?

    • I am a Christian, and I absolutely would. They can put in their messages about Allah and whatever else. I’d rather see that kids are enjoying Christmas than worry about any of that. I doubt kids really read the papers or take it to heart anyhow. Ridiculous to make such a big deal out of such a small thing.

    • I don’t support any school obligating kids to do anything with religious affiliation, but I do think all charities, regardless of any religious affiliation, that send presents to children, are good things. I would rather see the kids become Christians, but as long as they still have these important, touching moments in their lives and become good adults, that’s an enormous amount of progress.

  6. There is no “public money” being spent. The money is coming from the families who voluntarily choose to participate or not participate. The school is simply making people aware of an opportunity. Often when a school “organizes” fund drives it is done through the PTA, which itself functions off of fundraisers and not public money. Now, if there was coercion or punishment for not participating, then you would be violating the 1st Amendment, and this (coercion) is what Madison and Jefferson meant by “promote.”

    • Um, yes there is. Besides, you’re suggesting that every person who has encountered this story, and the entire legal team at the AHA, and the schools themselves, all overlooked the most important factor in the entire case – but YOU, Ray, read an article on religionnews.com and figured it all out! Oh, if only everyone would read your post and realize that it was all a mistake! We need more people like you.

  7. These idiots who have never read or studied the 1st Amendment are so boring, and outrageous. This activity does NOT violate Freedom of Religion. Yet it is also probable that some over-reaching court, e.g. USSCt., would rule that it is.

    Think I’ll contribute to this charity ASAP!

    • A prosletyzing charity operating on public property definitely does violate the Establishment Clause. Please don’t act like it is such a limited clause or does not really exist as the separation of church and state.

    • Actually, it’s a very clear violation of the Establishment Clause of The First Amendment, and if they go to court they will lose just like all the others. This is why the majority of schools decide to obey the law instead of t.challenging i It’s crazy people who insist that it’s not a violation (even though it so clearly is) that end up going to courts and blowing the entire annual budget of their school. Frankly, I really don’t understand how anyone can read the Establishment Clause and not think that this case is a violation.

    • I agree with you, Mary! The “separation of church and state” has gone way past the original intent of the founding fathers, who were actually men of great faith. It is the interpretations, not the actual wording.
      BTW, Yoga is a system of belief – the various poses are worship to the various gods. And, this humanist group has actually hurt their cause more than helped it. . . .

  8. I don’t understand why we would be angry over something in the schools that might help to promote caring, respect and concern for others. It might take away from bullying, suicides and mass shootings….

    • I think everyone would agree, but that’s not what this is about. If it was just about promoting caring, respect, and concern for others then I’m quite sure everyone would agree with it. The problem has to do with the fact that they are promoting religion, which had nothing to do with caring, respect, and concern for others. Thank goodness it’s a clear violation of the Establishment Clause which makes it easy to remedy through legal action.

  9. And who is actually hurt by this? Oh that’s right… the kids living in poverty who won’t be receiving gifts in the future. Good job you atheist Nazi’s! Way to control what charitable organizations people CHOOSE to DONATE to! It’s not like the people giving were being COERCED and asked to CONVERT! I applaud you for throwing your weight around so that people will not give! We should include something in our constitution about how charity in general is a religious philosophy and just tell people to stop giving! The word agape is translated as ‘charity’ in the King James Bible (1 Corinthians 13:13). Other translations say ‘love’ instead of charity. We should completely ban love and charity all together in schools because the two words carry heavy religious connotations. I am completely opposed to people that would give to any charitable (loving, kind, benevolent) organization from this day forward! ‘Then we can all wear brown shirts and do the same thing; that sounds great!(-Maria Bamford)!’

    • Seriously? Did you even read the article? The TOYS aren’t the problem. They aren’t complaining that the kids are getting toys, in fact I’m quite sure that everyone loves the idea of gifts for poor children. It’s the indoctrination note/bribe that’s included with the toys. THAT’S the problem. It’s terrible and it’s a violation of the Establishment Clause. Do you really think it was about the toys? Come on.

      • Are you claiming that the U.S.-based schools are establishing a religion when their students voluntarily fill and decorate shoe-boxes with small toys, school supplies and hygiene supplies?

        Or are you claiming that after the boxes are collected, someone inserts religious materials which are then used to establish a religion in the 3rd world as the boxes are distributed? Do you have examples of these “indoctrination notes/bribes”?

        How do you know that the poor kids receiving these gifts aren’t already Christian? A large portion of the population of Mexico, Peru, the Philippines are already Catholic, so how is this a problem?

  10. I wonder if the Christian supporters of this program would feel the same way if the roles were reversed. If the toys were being collected and distributed by an atheist group with a card included that told people about evolution and that the bible, while a good story to be sure, is just that; a fairy tale. Maybe include a little card with a happy face on it suggesting some interesting reading by such authors as Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens.

    • God is what this country was founded on. Christians believe that we are to spread God’s love in many ways. Most of us that share God’s love do not ask for anything in return. Each of you have freewill to decide whether you believe or not, Christians like me will not force anything on you, but will share God’s love when the timing is right. Like it or not Samaritan’s Purse is making a difference in people’s lives and I love it when I know that a life will be impacted in a positive way.

    • I’m a Christian, and I say go for it. As long as kids are getting something rather than nothing. They can choose faith or not, choose to read the paper or not. I doubt it is really of any consequence, where as receiving the gifts is much more important.

  11. Praise the Lord,
    am working in the midst of Children past 16 years in India, Vizag, I reached more children to Christ, many are Baptized with Water and Holy Spirit. Now am running 3 Sunday Schools, 5 Children Clubs, 2 School Clubs in a week. Am unable to feed the children when they are in need. Unable to encourage like gifts in the occasion.
    So, Will you give any opportunity to encourage my Children’s Ministry in Vizag to encourage with Gifts and feeding the poor. Am praying and do pray for my ministry.
    Praying for you all.
    Glory to Jesus, Praising God.

    Vijay Sadanala
    Vizag
    India.

  12. My four year old son and I participated in this great effort to help children with less. It taught him to value the things he does have, such as, toothpaste and toothbrushes. He often wants to donate his unused toys, hats, gloves and so on. He may only be five, but it taught him kindness. Example… Lego kits come with little lego men. He has collected three so far on his reward system for being respectful and responsible for his actions. He asked to bring them to school because they have indoor recess in the winter. I allowed him to take them. He has three good buddies he plays with, Aston, Dylan and Trevor. Dylan and Aston already have lego men of their own and Trevor didn’t.
    When he came I checked to see if he brought the men home.., (part of being responsible) he only had two. I asked him if he lost one. He sits down, looks g at his lap and says, “momma, I gave one to Trevor. I had three, and he had none.” I told him how nice it was for him to do that and he says, “Besides mum, I only have two hands.”
    U believe participating with our community ND other children to help children who are poor opened his eyes to the fact that many people don’t get to eat everyday. Many kids don’t ever get to ride a bike.
    We enjoyed helping children in other countries. We would also like to help children in America,. We are having a hard time finding an organization such as, Samaritans Purse, one reputable, and as global.

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