Operation Christmas Love boxes are full of food, treats, and essentials, as well as a booklet explaining the reason why we celebrate Christmas: the birth of Jesus.

Mission Without Borders’ goal is to distribute 42,000+ of these boxes this Christmas season, across the six poorest countries in Eastern Europe, making it possible for families and elderly people to know they are loved and not forgotten over the festive season.



Elena and her husband Florin live in a two-room apartment in Victoria, Romania, with their five children, that once belonged to Florin’s late parents.

Their living conditions are far from what they need. When they first moved into the apartment several years ago, it didn’t even have windows. Many apartment blocks in Romania are poor quality, built during the Communist era, and in need of serious renovation to their infrastructure, heating systems and roofs.

“We had to use plastic wrap to cover our windows when we first moved in; the mold was everywhere.”

Elena said, “I remember that we didn’t have anything. The apartment was empty. I used to go around begging people and churches for furniture and things like pots and plates.”

The apartment lacks hot water and central heating, and the family uses a small gas stove or an electric heater to warm the place up. Elena shares the bigger room with all the children and Florin uses the small room. Their bathroom door often gets stuck and opens only by being kicked. The whole place needs to be thoroughly refurbished.

Elena said, “We’ll probably have to move out of here pretty soon, as Florin has 13 other siblings and there are many conflicts about who should have the apartment.”

As Christmas approaches, the winter season is challenging for families living in poverty such as Elena’s. Less work is available and heating costs go up. Elena’s family usually celebrates in simple ways: visiting family, and caroling from house to house, as is Romanian tradition.

Elena’s Christmas menu is not fancy, but she tries to include the children’s favourites: tripe soup, meat ball soup, French fries and corn bread. However, food and necessities are getting more and more difficult to afford. While Elena stays home caring for the children, Florin works in construction, but what he earns barely covers the family’s basic needs.

Fortunately, the family is enrolled in Mission Without Borders’ family sponsorship program. As a result, they now receive regular support in many areas of their lives – and at Christmas time, that means Operation Christmas Love.

For Elena, it means that her family can celebrate Christmas without worrying about being able to afford the food for the table and the treats.

Elena said, “The children are so happy about the sweets in the box. They love eating them and I’m sure, if possible, they would eat them all day long.”

“Everything we get from the Mission is an enormous help to us,” she added. “The food, hygiene supplies, clothes, shoes, toys, school supplies, furniture, bed linen and Christmas gifts, bring us so much delight.

“We can hardly wait to open the Operation Christmas Love boxes and see what’s inside. I get as excited as the kids do, looking through everything! We thank you and we wish you health.”

[pictured above] OCL parcels being packaged in Ukraine just a few weeks ago.


The Kosyuk children (pictured above) live with their 27-year old mother and an elderly grandmother in the rural Rivne region of western Ukraine.

Their old, broken-down house has no electricity, running water or gas supply, and the toilet is outside in the yard. They cook on a fire and draw water from a well. Their mother Svitlana has a job, earning a small salary. They also keep a cow, pigs, and poultry, and grow vegetables on their small plot of land.

Despite how hard Svitlana works, she and her family live in deep poverty. A soaring inflation rate has led to a sharp increase in the cost of food and other basic necessities, and at the same time, real-time incomes fell 16% in 2022. As a result, more than 40% of families in Ukraine are currently unable to meet their day-to-day needs.

The children’s father is currently serving in the Ukrainian army, but Svitlana explains that her relationship with him has broken down due to his alcoholism and abuse. Svitlana’s brother died two years ago while serving in the army.

MWB staff member Olexandr visits the family regularly, and he shared how desperately this family – and others like them – need our help.

Olexandr said, “Just like many other families living in poverty nowadays, the Kosyuks suffer not only from poverty and challenging circumstances, but also from having a very uncertain future because of the war.”

“It breaks your heart when you visit the families and you see a mother crying and sharing that all she has leftare just few potatoes; or when you  see a mother spreading some fat on pieces of bread and giving to herchildren as the dinner. Such moments motivate you to be thankful for every little thing you have in your life and what a joy is to hear from parents “you came right on time with this food parcel!  We ran out of groceries …”.” - Serghei Lapaci, MWB Coordinator in Moldova


“Very often I’m moved to tears when I see how grateful our elderly are for the food that we bring. I realize how vitally important our assistance is for them. When their minimum pension is even less than the living wage … and they spend most of it on medicine ... I understand what it means when they cannot afford to buy food.” - Volodymyr, MWB Volunteer in Ukraine


“The OCL parcel is direct support to the family. It gives people the feeling that they are not alone in their need, that they are not forgotten, and it opens a door for us to share God’s love and Gospel.” - Nives Pavic, MWB Family Sponsorship Coordinator in Bosnia-Herzegovina


Your generosity is bringing happiness and hope during challenging times, not just at Christmas but throughout the year … to children, families, the elderly, all those who are struggling in extreme poverty across Eastern Europe, and who have no hope for a brighter, better future.

It is pure joy and a great honor being able to serve such as these; our greatest goal for the beneficiaries of our ministry is for them to always feel the care we have for them, and most importantly that they feel God’s provision and great love.

Would you consider a special end-of year financial gift at this time?

The need is so big, and we are entering into some of the harshest, coldest months of the calendar year.

As this year winds down, we wish to share a HUGE THANK-YOU from our team overseas as well as here in Canada, for your ongoing support … which IS making a world of difference. May you and all those you love have a wonderful, Christ-filled and blessed Christmas season!



November 2023  -  October 2023  -  September 2023  -  August 2023  -  July 2023   -  June 2023 




Give the gift of hope and love