Thanks to the hard work of Cross Catholic Outreach (CCO), a Catholic relief agency dedicated to serving “the poorest of the poor” in Dioceses throughout the world, more than 100,000 children will be receiving a “Box of Joy” this Christmas – but there’s still time to double that number!
According to CCO, the Box of Joy challenge allows Catholics to set aside time and resources to help those who are less fortunate this Christmas season by packing up boxes of joy for children. The boxes, which are packed in participating parishes throughout the country and dropped off at local delivery points, contain toys, candy, soap, clothing, school supplies, a Rosary, the Story of Jesus in the child’s native language, and a $9 check to cover shipping and support for the charitable work where the child lives. For many of these children, who live in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala, a Box of Joy will be the only Christmas gift they receive this year.
The program, which started four years ago, has been growing steadily each year. In 2018, 620 parishes participated in the program and sent boxes to 58,020 children in five countries. That number is expected to double in 2019.
“So far this year, 103,851 boxes have been pledged to children who would otherwise receive nothing for Christmas, an increase of 24 percent over last year’s numbers,” said Jim Cavnar, CCO president. “The joy that will be delivered through these boxes is priceless, and we are deeply grateful to the individuals and families who have made Box of Joy a part of their Advent and Christmas celebrations.”
Packing of the boxes is taking place in parishes this week – which is called the Box of Joy Week – in order to get them ready in time for shipping. But there’s still plenty of time to get involved through the organization’s on-line option which allows potential donors to sponsor a box for boys or girls ranging in age from two to 14 years. The cost is just $34 per box.
Abby Johnson, Box of Joy Ambassador and founder of And Then There Were None, is spearheading the effort at her parish in Texas, where more than 300 boxes are being packed for children.
“My family packs several boxes of joy a year and my kids easily grasp the concept of selfless giving through this program, which I’m so grateful for, especially in the midst of an overwhelming materialistic culture during Christmas,” said Johnson. “It’s important for my children to find ways to show the love of Jesus to others, which Box of Joy helps them to understand.”
Based in Florida, Cross Catholic Outreach is an official Catholic nonprofit 501(c)(3) relief and development organization that, since its founding in 2001, has given more than $1 billion in aid to help “the poorest of the poor” in more than three dozen developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and other parts of the world.
Visit their website for more information!