Christmas Child 'open to all faiths'

Nathalie Thomas

Samaritan's Purse has stressed that its annual Operation Christmas Child is open to people from "all walks of life, faiths, races and ethnic backgrounds" after HM Revenue & Customs reportedly banned its staff from making donations on the grounds that this clashed with diversity policy.

David Varney, chairman of HMRC, is thought to have imposed the ban on shoebox gift collections after it emerged that the charity also hands out Bible booklets in some of the countries where it operates.

Samaritan's Purse admitted this was true "where it is culturally appropriate" but stressed that the Christmas shoebox collections contained no items of a racial, political or military nature.

"If found, such items are removed," said the charity.

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