Samaritan’s Purse Gives Away 200 Millionth Christmas Shoebox

“'I just remember being so excited about this gift because that was the first gift that I had ever received in my life,' she said." - CToday

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Aaron Blumer's picture


The Christmas shoeboxes are an annual thing. They don't create any long-term dependencies or alleviate hunger at all. It would be pretty hard to make a case that there is any economic impact.

But other projects Samaritan's Purse is into...  It looks to me like they are focused mostly on disaster response. In places where disasters like war are almost constant, a plausible case could be made that the work creates unhelpful economic dependency. I'm not sure that's even relevant in places where you have constant war and no law and order, though. Without basic property rights (you get to keep the crop you grew and the animals you raised) economic self-sufficiency is 100% impossible. So, you can't really create a bad dependency where people have no hope at all of economic independence.

But Samaritan's seems to be mostly about short term disaster projects, in any case.


Crisis and Disaster Response —

International Relief: Samaritan’s Purse specializes in meeting critical needs for victims of war, disaster, and famine in the world’s most troubled regions, often working through local churches and ministry partners. Recent efforts include responding to refugees fleeing war-ravaged Mosul, Iraq by providing food, shelter, and other supplies; and operating an emergency field hospital to treat patients injured by gunfire, mines, and other explosives. Samaritan’s Purse also distributed emergency shelter materials, generators, and critical supplies to victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on five Caribbean islands as well as established a medical clinic in Bangladesh to aid thousands of refugees affected by a diphtheria outbreak.

U.S. Disaster Relief: Since 1998, when Samaritan’s Purse equipped its first tractor-trailer Disaster Relief Unit, staff and volunteers have helped more than 39,000 families impacted by U.S. natural disasters—hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, and ice storms—by quickly providing emergency supplies and cleaning, repairing and rebuilding homes. In 2017, the organization responded to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, providing emergency relief to more than 3,600 families who were displaced by the storms. Now, Samaritan’s Purse has begun helping 1,000 Texas families get back into their homes through rebuilds, repairs, and a material assistance program.

Feeding Programs — Samaritan’s Purse has specialized programs to treat severely malnourished children and runs large-scale distributions to feed victims of disaster, famine, and war. 


For the most part, I'm glad they do what they do.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mark_Smith's picture

Can I have a piece of candy?

No... it does nothing alleviate your long standing hunger issue. It is bad for your teeth. It teaches you dependency on an bad calories. It spoils your supper. And, it is does nothing to help you to feed yourself.

Yeah right... please tell me you aren't that ridiculous at home. So why be so silly with these kids. A little joy in an otherwise bad existence... nope, it doesn't alleviate the long-standing economic troubles of this region and it depresses the local economy... [eyeroll] 

Bert Perry's picture

In some cultures, fathers are indeed crushed by the notion, even just at Christmas, that they are not the ones providing good things for their families.  I am reminded of my grandmother telling me, when I mentioned possibly trying to make contact with distant relatives, that they were "poor but proud", meaning that if I did things that would remind them of their poverty or suggested me being better than they, that I would quickly be given the bum's rush. 

So I think that here, and probably even with sponsorships (which I do), there is a fine line between helping and destroying the local culture.  It may well be that a huge portion of the devastation in inner cities has to do with this--all too many see government and charity as the source of security, and thus fathers are pushed out.  Worth contemplating at least, no?

(if you're curious, no, never did find those distant I didn't get to test out my grandmother's warning)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.