In impoverished communities around the globe, Christmas morning isn’t nearly as festive as most Americans might expect. On that holiday, we are used to setting aside our work and daily concerns for a day filled with extravagant gift-giving and hours of feasting. But families in developing countries face an entirely different situation. Christmas morning dawns with the same daily hardships they endure year-round. Poverty steals the joy of that special day.
Christmas doesn’t provide these families with a break from unsafe housing or the trials of finding safe drinking water or food, and because of these challenges their children resign themselves to another meager Christmas celebration — with a year of deprivation to follow.
Seeing the growing hopelessness these hardships created, Cross Catholic Outreach launched the Box of Joy ministry in 2014. Partnering with parishes, schools and faithful Catholics like you, this ministry has impacted the lives of 514,855 children since its beginning — bringing joy and hope to children in need through Christmas gifts.
Special thank-you to donors of bulk goods and toys: TLC Toys, Sock Religious and Tiny Saints.
Cross Catholic Outreach is proud to link arms with the Friendly Hand Foundation in serving the poor — and that includes our Box of Joy gift distributions in El Salvador.
Among the children recently blessed with a Box of Joy was a shy six-year-old girl named Susana Ramos. The young girl feels fortunate to have her small home where she lives with her parents, but times are hard. Susana’s mother lost her job during the pandemic, and her father is a bricklayer who takes any work he can get. Though Susana loves dolls, it’s rare that her parents have the extra income to afford one.
On the morning of the Box of Joy distribution in her community, Susana woke up bright and early, eager to be the first to arrive at her school and receive her gift. Smiling brightly at her teachers, Susana was handed her Box of Joy and was overjoyed at what that special present contained. Thank you for bringing a smile to the faces of so many children like Susana!
When faithful Catholics send gifts to children in the Caribbean and Latin America, they are sending more than school supplies and toys — they are delivering much-needed hope.
The story of Rocelin Pineda demonstrates the power of this loving gesture. The little girl and her two brothers are familiar with the hard knocks of life, living in the Guatemalan village of Pueblo Viejo, and faced a lot of challenges in their young lives. Last year, Rocelin was involved in a motorcycle accident that put her in a coma for two months. She underwent several surgeries on her stomach and head and had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. Extensive medical needs also kept Rocelin from attending school.
Now 6 years old, the little girl’s health has finally improved, and she can socialize with children her age again. The arrival of a Box of Joy gift came as a special surprise and was a big encouragement to her. Rocelin’s 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 echo the thanksgiving of Rocelin’s mother, praising and thanking God that so many faithful Catholics took part in the Box of Joy ministry. When you lovingly packed, collected, screened and shipped these wonderful gifts, it demonstrated the boundless compassion you and others have for boys and girls in need! Thanks to your support in the 2022 Box of Joy season, our ministry partners were able to bless the lives of 118,990 children in six countries — the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras and Malawi. God bless you for giving these precious children a cause for celebration and for giving them a tangible example of Jesus Christ’s own generous love!
Box of Joy is a registered trademark of Cross Catholic Outreach.