Children in the Dominican Republic smiling after receiving their Boxes of Joy!
Children in the Dominican Republic were so excited to receive their Boxes of Joy!

2021 Box of Joy Ministry Volunteers Blessed Record Number of Children

You’ve Shown Love to God’s Precious Children

In poor, remote communities, families often feel isolated. They wonder if their troubles are “out of sight, out of mind” — forgotten by the world. These parents labor doggedly each day just to provide their children with basic necessities such as food and shelter, so they worry about their children losing hope too.

When Christmas comes around, these disheartening challenges hit families hardest, and many children resign themselves to another year of going without. Few, if any, have ever even seen a special Christmas gift. To help lift families out of these hardships and restore their lost hope, we believe the Church must step forward and offer a symbol of Christ’s light and joy, especially at this hallowed time of year.

This was the inspiration for the Box of Joy ministry of Cross Catholic Outreach, and its mission to place Christmas gifts in the hands of some of the world’s neediest children has become an annual success story, thanks to the faithful and generous contributions of friends like you!

Volunteers from Ave Maria University gathered at the Box of Joy National Screening Center in south Florida to check and prepare gifts for shipment.
Volunteers from Ave Maria University gathered at the Box of Joy National Screening Center in south Florida to check and prepare gifts for shipment.

Your participation in Box of Joy extended the life-transforming mercies of Christ to precious children and their families, and each gift you helped deliver reminded these boys and girls that they are deeply loved by God and their brothers and sisters in the Church. Their reaction to that truth is evident in their wide eyes, bright smiles and delighted shouts of joy!

In the 2021 Box of Joy season, Catholics like you helped share toys, treats, clothing, school supplies, hygiene items and The Story of Jesus with children in eight countries. Thank you for putting your faith into action to make such a significant memory for little ones in need. These boys and girls feel seen, loved and valued because of you!

Students at Mt. Carmel Academy enthusiastically contributed and collected gifts.
Students at Mt. Carmel Academy enthusiastically contributed and collected gifts.

The Box of Joy ministry would not be possible without help from the Catholic parishes, schools, groups and individuals that come together to lovingly pack, collect, screen and ship each gift. We are so grateful for every person who served to send out joy this season. We are also grateful to the individuals, groups and companies that donated bulk items (such as handmade wooden cars, puppets, dresses and rosaries) to add to the Boxes of Joy.

Smiles Inspired by You

This season, one of our first Box of Joy distributions took place in rural Nicaragua, where our longtime partner, Rainbow Network, ministers faithfully to families in need. The children who participate in Rainbow Network’s enrichment programs receive much-needed nutrition and educational reinforcement — and thanks to you, they also received unforgettable Boxes of Joy! Rainbow Network collaborated with the local Red Cross to deliver these gifts throughout several communities.

Bismarck Antonio Rodriguez Perez is a friendly, hardworking boy who lives in El Jícaro, Nicaragua.

Bismarck Antonio Rodriguez Perez is a friendly, hardworking boy who lives in El Jícaro, Nicaragua. When Bismarck heard that Boxes of Joy would be distributed at his local church, he eagerly laid out his clothes and cleaned his shoes for the occasion! He was so happy to attend the celebration, hear the Gospel and receive his gift. Bismarck’s parents reported that their son thanks God every night for the people who made this program possible.

Luz Marina Rodriguez, 5, lives in El Corozo, Nicaragua, with her father and two younger brothers. On the morning of the distribution, Luz was the first person awake in her household. She immediately ran to prepare her father’s horse so that the family could leave and receive their Boxes of Joy. She was eager to make it there on time! When Luz finally received her gift, her brilliant smile was a blessing to everyone present. Her father, David, sincerely thanked Cross Catholic Outreach for sharing such a beautiful moment with his children. “Without a doubt, it was unforgettable,” he said.

Luz Marina Rodriguez, 5, lives in El Corozo, Nicaragua, with her father and two younger brothers.
Dilan Centeno, 9, has a congenital malformation and was abandoned by his parents shortly after birth.

Dilan Centeno, 9, has a congenital malformation and was abandoned by his parents shortly after birth. His aunt, Maria Centeno, strives to provide a loving home for Dilan, but her limited resources make it impossible to purchase toys. This was Dilan’s first year to receive a Box of Joy. His excitement could not be contained as he eagerly commented on all the items inside!

Box of Joy by the Numbers

God bless you for your generous participation in the Box of Joy 2021 season. Here is a breakdown of the accomplishments made possible by compassionate Catholics like you:

  • • 106,276 children received a Box of Joy.
  • • Seven countries served: El Salvador, Haiti, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and
       the Dominican Republic.
  • • 1,124 participating organizations, including 208 schools, 487 parishes and 429 groups!
  • • 48 participating states.
  • • 172 participating dioceses across the U.S.
  • • 228 Drop-Off Centers.
  • • 855 screening center volunteers.
A girl in Las Maras, Dominican Republic, receives her gift. Local Catholic leaders always serve to make these distributions a true celebration of joy!
A girl in Las Maras, Dominican Republic, receives her gift. Local Catholic leaders always serve to make these distributions a true celebration of joy!

Since Box of Joy began in 2014, a total of 393,865 children have been blessed. Thank you for making such an unforgettable impact on young lives!

Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. – PSALM 47:1

Bless More Lives Through Box of Joy

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Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2022, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.