Not a part of it

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There’s this toy drive going at the moment for “Operation Christmas Child”. The idea is you gather a shoebox of little gifts, like pens and pencils, small toys and so on, and send it to Africa or someplace for Christmas.

Sounds nice, right?

Me being be, I decided to skim the website of the charity involved, to see what else they do.

They’re a Christian charity, as many charities are (Care Australia isn’t).

The thing I have the most issues with about what they do? Their approach to HIV/AIDS education. They provide recordings in the native language on HIV/AIDS education… but the way they do it?

There are two separate training tracks: Building the Church, which includes the Bible in Khmer along with scriptural training lessons; and Messages of Hope, which includes lessons addressing HIV/AIDS, child protection, health and sanitation, and parenting.

Sorry, I don’t want a part in that, nor do I, as their newsletter said, want a part in putting together a box that (let me find the quote) “through the gifts the children will come to know the love of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas” (p2)…
I read another part somewhere today, which I can’t track down, that credited the boxes for giving the church an ‘in’ to a community in order to spead religion. (I wish I could find the quote, sorry).

Ahem. But anyway. Find a charity whose mission and methods you agree with. Read their back story. That’s my message that I’m preaching ;)



  1. What is the greater good or evil here though? When I was a Christian I thought this was a great idea. Seeing the kids get a box of cool stuff is weakening to the heart. If you’ve seen their promo videos you may know what I mean. Question:
    Is it better that these kids not get a box and thus not get the Christian story, than for them to get a box and the Christian story?

    I sincerely believe that it’s ok to concede that “people need Jesus”. It’s delusional, it’s errant, but hell, it can make their lives a lot more meaningful and bearable in many circumstances. What is the greater good? It would be best that all humans could do this without the added motivation of faith systems, but there is a reality that it doesn’t happen.

    The thing I actually don’t like about that ministry is the fact that they can’t possibly get all of them.. and for those kids that hear about the program and don’t get anything.. I feel that’s probably worse.

  2. I give my money to non-religios charities too :)
    Yes, religious charities to great work helping the disadvantaged, but of course they’re going to sell their own “product” to those disadvantaged, too.

  3. and here is their response to someone who wante dto contribute to sending shoe boxes of xmas pressies:

    There are no plans at present for this. Whilst it’s a great idea in principle the cost of shipping stuff over or flying over with it makes it difficult-it’s far easier to send money to our partners in Nigeria for them to spend on things over there. At the moment the children at CRARN (where the children who have been branded as witches … Read morereceive care, rehabilitation and accommodation) are given a big Christmas party with all kinds of games, food and fun. Thanks for the thought. The SSN team.

  4. Yeahm they were collecting gold coin donations for the boxes t be sent as well as stuff for the boxes at today’s afternoon tea that I avoided :) So I couldn’t exactly give to the afternoon tea (food or money) .. I probably would have just felt sick eating it.

What do you think?

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