Several children in Catholic school uniforms jump into the air in front of a pile of Christmas gifts.
Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta, Georgia, participated in the 2023 Box of Joy season — giving their students an engaging and tangible way to practice virtue.

Add Box of Joy® to Your Fall Calendar

At Cross Catholic Outreach, we believe in following Christ’s example by loving the poor in both word and deed. We also believe a single act of kindness has the power to bless and transform lives — impacting those who give as well as those who receive.

The core principles behind our mission of mercy include obedience to God, joyful service and preference for the poor, and our many programs reflect those values. Our Box of Joy ministry — which invites U.S. Catholic parishes, schools and groups to pack gifts for children in developing countries such as Guatemala and the Dominican Republic — is an excellent example of that and is one such way Catholics can make a difference.

A young boy holds a shoebox-sized Christmas gift.
Abel, known to family and friends as Abelito, was excited to show off the Box of Joy he received last Christmas.

Meet Abel

Little Abel, from the remote village of Los Chilitos, Guatemala, received a Box of Joy last Christmas. When Cross Catholic Outreach staff members visited Abel’s village after that event, he recognized the globe logo on their shirts and dashed home to grab his Box of Joy gifts! Abel wanted to show them the treasures he had received, including a ball, a matchbox car and a plastic pail.

The toys were only part of the reason Abel was so joyful. The box he received also contained a story about Jesus in his language and a rosary, which he had since learned to pray! Abel even asked the Cross Catholic Outreach staff to tell Doug and Donna — the people who packed his Box of Joy — that he prays the rosary for them every night.

Personalizing Box of Joy Gifts

How did Abel know Doug and Donna packed his gift? When choosing items for the gift that would be sent to Guatemala, the couple decided to include a photo of themselves with a letter wishing the child a Merry Christmas. The couple wanted Abel’s Box of Joy to have a personal touch, but they could not have known how Abel would respond to that photo and letter or that the little Guatemalan boy would begin praying for them.

This story of love, gratitude and spiritual connection demonstrates how much of a blessing a Box of Joy can be to a child in a developing country. At Cross Catholic Outreach, we encourage anyone packing a Box of Joy to take a few extra minutes to write a personal note and let the child who receives it know they are loved as a child of God and as a part of our Church family. We are all God’s children and, therefore, one family in Christ.

Get Involved

By participating in the Box of Joy ministry, you can help Catholic ministries in developing countries share the love of Christ with children who live in extreme poverty. The boxes packed by U.S. Catholics are an incredible blessing for children who may have never received a gift of their own. In this way, we can ensure girls and boys in developing countries experience Christmas joy and the love and provision of our Heavenly Father in a tangible way.

Interested in bringing the Box of Joy ministry to your parish, school or group? Cross Catholic Outreach has made the process easy and convenient. When you sign up to become a Box of Joy team leader, you’ll receive a toolkit with all the resources you’ll need, including convenient directions and fun ideas to make your Box of Joy event a success. For example, the Box of Joy toolkit includes an activity page to help students personalize each gift. You are welcome to make copies of these pages and distribute them to students. We’ve also posted online some ideas to engage your group and a handy gift idea guide.

Thanks to the generosity of U.S. Catholics, Cross Catholic Outreach and its overseas ministry partners have blessed children with more than 600,000 Box of Joy gifts. There are many more children in developing countries who pray for a similar blessing — and your parish, school or group can help answer these prayers. Select how many children you and your group want to bless with Box of Joy gifts and sign up now!

Together, we can spread joy, one box at a time!

Box of Joy is a registered trademark of Cross Catholic Outreach.

Bless More Lives Through Box of Joy