Members of Parliament from all parties have come together to help Operation Christmas Child in their final push to reach their milestone of delivering a gift-filled shoebox to their 100 millionth child.
Over the past 22 years, through OCC, Samaritan's Purse has delivered 94 million shoeboxes to needy children in over 100 countries. Despite their busy schedules more than 30 MPs have personally packed their own shoeboxes to play their part towards lifting this total to 100 million and beyond.
MPs got involved in this year's OCC campaign thanks to the Conservative Christian Fellowship, who asked a number of MPs across all parties including Gavin Shuker (Labour), Tim Farron (Lib Dem) and Fiona Bruce (Conservative) to write to their fellow Members of Parliament asking them if they'd personally send their own shoeboxes this year.
"The response was brilliant, reflecting how much MPs from all parties are completely committed to helping vulnerable children. There is far more cross party support for charities like Samaritan's Purse than the public normally sees. Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, was one of the most enthusiastic sending four shoeboxes himself," said Colin Bloom, Director of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.
He added: "We're delighted to be supporting the brilliant work of Samaritan's Purse as they work towards this great milestone of delivering 100 million shoeboxes. As Christians we're called to help our neighbour and these shoeboxes play a significant part in doing this as it shows children that they're not forgotten this Christmas."
Samaritan's Purse UK Chief Executive Simon Barrington, is also encouraged by the response of the MPs: "It's great to see members of parliament from right across the parties coming together and engaging in cross party activity to bring joy and hope and happiness to children at Christmas.
"When we see children living in orphanages and we see street children and we see children who've never received a gift in their lives before then there's a common compassion that unites all of us. Each one of us has our hearts broken and that's true right across the political parties and in the House of Lords as well. These MPs have come forward of their own will wanting to make a difference at Christmas time and wanting to impact the lives of children right across the world."
While the general deadline for dropping off shoeboxes has now passed there's good news for people too busy to wrap and pack shoeboxes - through Shoebox World, now in its third year, busy folk, or those who are unable to get out, can create and send their shoebox/es online.
Online shoeboxes can be created from £11 and Shoebox World will be taking orders from anyone living in the UK, or those with UK credit cards living abroad, up to and including Christmas Day.