BOCA RATON, Fla. – Oct. 23, 2018 – Box of Joy ministry is gearing up to put Christmas smiles on the faces of more than 70,000 children, all of whom live in dire poverty in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Nicaragua, and this year, for the first time, in El Salvador.
In its fifth year, Box of Joy adds another country to the list of nations where children will receive boxes of little Christmas gifts packed by families, churches and individuals. It also greatly increases the number of lives touched. Just three years ago, 11,500 children in poverty received a Box of Joy compared to the goal of 70,000 this year.
“While gift-giving is not the meaning of Christmas, it does help us remember the reason for Christmas — the birth of Jesus — and how our Lord received gifts from strangers,” said Jim Cavnar, president of Cross Catholic Outreach. “Serving Jesus through helping these children experience the joy of opening up presents is a beautiful way to show the love of Christ, and to see that love reflected in their happy faces.”
Last year, through the efforts of 476 participating schools, churches and groups across 48 states utilizing 126 drop-off centers, Cross Catholic Outreach collected and delivered gift-filled Boxes of Joy to 46,360 children in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Schools, churches and groups nationwide organize Boxes of Joy by packing the boxes with small gifts such as toys and school supplies and adding essentials like soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, as well as a few treats like hard candy and coloring books. Participants include $9 in each box to cover shipment from the local drop-off center to the child. Boxes are then dropped off during Box of Joy Week, Nov. 3 to 11.
“Some kids live in homes without electricity or running water,” says Most Rev. Thomas J. Rodi, Archbishop of Mobile, Alabama. “Some kids live in homes with dirt floors. Some kids live in the most impoverished areas and never receive a Christmas present. Fortunately, we have an opportunity to make Christmas brighter for these kids through the Box of Joy ministry. Together, this Christmas let’s tell kids in the most impoverished of situations that they are loved by sending them a Box of Joy.”
“It was so incredibly inspiring to travel to Haiti with Jim Cavner and the Box Of Joy team and to experience the excitement and blessings these gifts provide to children who would otherwise literally have nothing,” said Tom Tradup, Salem Radio Network Vice President of Talk & Programming.
“The Box of Joy program delivers toys and other gifts to the poorest kids in the Western Hemisphere, but they also cherish the photos included in each box showing a boy or girl in America who cared enough to share the love of Christ with a child they will never meet.”
Cross Catholic Outreach piloted the Box of Joy ministry in 2014 with just two Catholic dioceses participating. Every year, the number of churches and groups has grown significantly and this year is expected to continue growing as churches and families see Box of Joy as a tangible way to show love and compassion to children in dire need.