In impoverished communities around the globe, Christmas morning isn’t nearly as festive as most Americans might expect. Most of us are blessed by a holiday filled with extravagant gift-giving and hours of feasting. However, for families in developing countries, the daily hardships caused by extreme poverty are present, even on this day. Children wake up in unsafe housing and face the trial of finding safe drinking water or the pain of malnourishment. Sadly, their communities’ lack of education opportunities continue this cycle of poverty and hardship.
In response to these challenges, Cross Catholic Outreach launched the Box of Joy ministry with the goal to bring the joy and hope of Christmas to the world’s neediest children. Through gifts packed with love by faithful Catholics like those in your school community, these boys and girls can experience a Christmas of abundance and joy.
When you add Box of Joy to your school calendar, students of all ages are offered a wonderful opportunity to bless and inspire their peers half a world away! This ministry engages your school in a work of mercy that is simple, fun and can involve the whole family. By incorporating the Box of Joy ministry into your school’s fall calendar, you allow your students to practice the works of mercy, not just learn about them. Compassion and generosity are real, tangible and irreplaceable components of Catholic social teaching that are lived out through this service project.
Children are curious and full of wonder. Why not tap into that curiosity and help them discover their place in the international Catholic Church? They will learn more about the common faith we share and have an opportunity to serve those less fortunate than themselves!
You can do this by engaging your students and sharing the names and stories of actual children detailed below who have received these gifts and been blessed by that wonderful experience. Telling them the powerful stories of Anahí, Meyreling and Rocelin would be the perfect place to start.
Cross Catholic Outreach is proud to link arms with partners in Guatemala and Nicaragua and to have delivered Boxes of Joy to poor children living in those countries’ rural communities. Over the years, we have seen these partnerships bear incredible fruit, providing needy families with a wide range of assistance, from food and medical outreaches to housing and educational support. In more recent years, we expanded this partnership to include the Box of Joy program, and it has brought smiles to the faces of many children being served by those faithful organizations.
For example, two of the children served in Nicaragua were sisters — 5-year-old Anahí and 7-year-old Meyreling. When the girls received their Box of Joy gifts, their eyes lit up with excitement, and their mother also celebrated with gladness. This was the very first time the girls had ever received so many beautiful and useful presents.
Meanwhile, in the Guatemalan village of Pueblo Viejo, little Rocelin Pineda and her two brothers have experienced a few of the hard knocks of life. Last year, Rocelin was involved in a motorcycle accident and her extensive medical needs kept her from attending school. Now 6-years-old, Rocelin has begun to recover and socialize with children her age again.
After experiencing many hardships in her young life, the arrival of a Box of Joy gift came as a welcome surprise. Her mother, Tatiana, said, “I’m so very grateful for the gifts for my daughter, she looks very happy! I also ask for your prayers for her health and wish with all my heart that God blesses you.”
We praise and thank God that so many Catholic schools have already taken part in the Box of Joy ministry and lovingly packed, collected, screened and shipped these wonderful gifts. That act of mercy demonstrates boundless compassion for children in need!
Please consider joining other schools in this beautiful mission of mercy, and see how it transforms the lives of your students and their thousands of peers across eight countries — the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Malawi and Nicaragua. Serving together, we can ensure that these boys and girls feel seen, loved and valued through Box of Joy!
Box of Joy is a registered trademark of Cross Catholic Outreach.