Charities Adapt to Save Christmas from COVID-19

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Nonprofits are offering churches more ways to give during a season with fewer in-person gatherings.

Just as Christians are reimagining what celebrating, worshiping, and shopping will look like this Christmas amid coronavirus restrictions, they may also have to change how they give.

As seasonal activities get downsized, canceled, or moved online, Americans will miss out on some of their traditional opportunities to contribute to charities that rely on presents or cash donated in person during the holidays.

Top Christmas charities like Operation Christmas Child, Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree, and the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign are adapting to provide socially distanced avenues to donate in person while expanding their online giving options. During a year when vulnerable populations have suffered economic downturns and the anxiety of the pandemic, this is not the time to let their outreach slip.

The Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, which distributes shoeboxes of gifts to needy children in 100 countries, typically relies on collections at churches, some of which aren’t gathering due to the coronavirus.

This week is national collection week for the red and green shoeboxes. While 4,000 drive-through, no-touch collection sites remain, Operation Christmas Child has seen a record number give online: 190,000 boxes were donated online this year, a more than seven-fold increase over 25,000 last year.

On the Operation Christmas Child website, donors can select the sex and age of their recipient, pick items to fill their shoebox, and pay $25 to cover the gifts and shipping. The operation partners with ministries overseas to distribute the boxes.

“For the children of the world, the need for boxes this year is greater than ever,” Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham …

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