In December 2002, Oprah and her team packed up their bags and flew to South Africa on an incredible mission: to hand-deliver gifts to 50,000 children. The journey took them across a hundred miles to see children from 63 different schools, many of whom had never received a present in their entire lives. Recently, Oprah took a moment on "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" to reflect back on the trip she now describes as "one of the greatest experiences of my life."
To pull off this massive gift exchange, more than 100 people were involved in a five-month planning process that began in Chicago. When the team arrived in South Africa, Oprah said she felt connected to the children. "I could feel what they were feeling, and I have never known such joy," she said.
Dubbed Christmas Kindness, their mission was to bring a little bit of holiday hope to a region hit devastatingly hard by the AIDS epidemic. "This is a place where orphan children are often left to fend for themselves," Oprah said. "I knew that we couldn't fix all that is wrong here – certainly not in one trip – but with Christmas approaching, I wanted the children of South Africa to know they are remembered."
As seen in the above clip, beaming children lined up by the hundreds to take part in the Christmas celebration. School supplies, baby dolls, footballs, and clothes were given to every boy and girl. The team measured thousands upon thousands of tiny feet to give all the children a brand-new sneakers.
Oprah said it was be the best Christmas she's ever known. "A moment that I will carry with me as long as I live," she said. "The greatest gifts are those we pass along."
Related: 16 years of Oprah's Favorite Things in 190 seconds.