Editor's Note: as Hurricane Matthew approaches the East Coast, many CatholicMom.com friends, readers and contributing writers are preparing their homes and families for the storm. Some are getting ready for evacuations. This powerful hurricane has already left devastation in Haiti. We urge you to pray for all those affected by this hurricane and those still in its path, and to help as you are able. --Barb

Christmas Initiative Will Lift Kids’ Spirits; Acute Need Now for Gifts for These Kids; 3 Ways to Help

Hurricane Matthew brought 145 mph winds, torrential rains and devastation to Haiti assuring a long season of recovery and rebuilding for one of the world’s poorest countries. More than ever, this year the children of that beleaguered nation who live in dire poverty—as well as the Dominican Republic—need the spiritual and emotional blessing the Box of Joy Christmas initiative will bring.

You can help.

Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy ministry is a way for people anywhere to help by packing a Christmas gift box that goes to a child who otherwise might receive nothing. Last year, Box of Joy brightened 11,500 kids’ lives. This year, that ray of sunshine is needed for even more children.

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“Relief efforts underway now will bring vital aid to Hurricane Matthew’s victims,” said Jim Canvar, Cross Catholic Outreach president. “But long after the spotlight is off Haiti, needs will remain. This year the hope and help that Box of Joy brings to children in countries like Haiti and the Dominican Republic is needed more than ever. They are counting on compassionate Americans to deliver that hope.”

You can help hurricane affected families in three ways:

  • Give the gift of hope and joy to children in need by packing a Box of Joy with items such as small toys, bar soap, pencils, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hard candy, crayons, coloring books or T-shirts. Drop-off centers at churches, schools and groups nationwide receive the boxes during Box of Joy week, Nov. 5-13. Find an interactive map of drop-off centers here. Include a $9 check to cover S&H from the drop-off center to Haiti or Dominican Republic and to support the charities helping the child’s community.
  • Bring any quantity of unpacked gift items from the suggested gift list or relief-related items to the drop-off center. Box of Joy volunteers use these items to ensure each child receives approximately the same number and variety of gifts in their box. There is a dire need for these extra items now. Find the suggested gift list here. Relief-related items include bar soap replacement of school supplies, flashlights, rain ponchos, bandages, duct tape, socks, underwear, T-shirts, etc.
  • Support Cross Catholic Outreach’s relief efforts for hurricane-affected areas. Learn more at CrossCatholic.org/relief.

“In addition to packed Boxes of Joy, this year, we particularly need those relief items to top off every box and ensure every child receives needed and wanted items,” said Steve Bostian, Box of Joy director. “These children need to know the world cares about them. Plus, participating in the Box of Joy program blesses every family who gives.”

Box of Joy Week, Nov. 5-13, is just weeks away, and those not near a drop-off center can participate now by funding a box online.

Learn more at CrossCatholic.org/BoxOfJoy.

About Cross Catholic Outreach 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 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. For more information about Cross Catholic, visit CrossCatholic.org or call 800-914-2420.