CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It was a huge celebration Friday at Operation Christmas Child with celebrity appearances and live music.
Thousands of volunteers celebrated the 9.8 million shoeboxes collected for needy children this holiday season.
Samaritans Purse President Franklin Graham spoke along with guest appearances from Governor Pat McCrory and former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.
Also at the celebration, a 25-year-old man from Rwanda who, at 7 years old, received a shoebox gift at an orphanage. He now interns with the organization.
“It was so special to see that gift. That moment, I will never be able to express in words. When I’m sitting on my bed and going through my box and smelling the smells, the touches – the feeling of the items in the box – it was just very special,” Alex Nsengimana said.
More than 120,000 volunteers packed the shoeboxes, which go to children in more than 100 countries.