Growing Catholic ministry Box of Joy reveals its big plans to share Christmas gifts with the world’s poorest children.
The feeling of being forgotten, left out and alone is all too familiar for families and children in developing countries. Cross Catholic Outreach, a global relief and development ministry, is ready to show the world’s poorest children they are not alone through its Box of Joy ministry—and they’re inviting people across the U.S. to join the excitement.
“Box of Joy gives families, parishes and schools the opportunity to show children who live in impoverished and poverty-stricken nations that they are loved, that there are people who think about them and pray for them and, ultimately, have placed them on their hearts during the Christmas season," said Jim Cavnar, president of Cross Catholic Outreach.
Groups nationwide organize Box of Joy gifts by packing shoebox-sized boxes with small gifts such as toys and school supplies and adding essentials, like soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, as well as a few treats like hard candy and coloring books. The ministry adds a rosary and The Story of Jesus to every box to remind children why Christmas is so special, and participants donate $9 to cover international shipment.
Americans are the most generous people in the world and even increased their generosity during the COVID-19 pandemic, where upwards of 72% of Americans helped a stranger, and more than 60% gave a monetary donation. During this time, Box of Joy has experienced tremendous growth. In 2021, Box of Joy blessed 106,276 children, a 73% increase over the previous year. In 2022, Cross Catholic Outreach’s goal is to bless 144,500 children with Boxes of Joy.
“The generosity of families, school groups, and parishes who participate in Box of Joy never ceases to amaze me, especially coming out of a pandemic,” said Michele Sagarino, vice president of development for Cross Catholic Outreach. “The faces of the children who receive their Box of Joy gifts are a beautiful sight, and that always makes every effort worth it many times over. It is humbling to lead such an impactful ministry.”
Last year, 1,115 Catholic parishes, schools and groups across 47 states participated in Box of Joy. Through these efforts, Cross Catholic Outreach collected and delivered Box of Joy gifts to 106,276 children in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Grenada and Guatemala. Box of Joy’s 2022 goal is to engage 1,505 organizations and bless 144,500 children.
“We are hoping to bless thousands more children in 2022 as organizations and parishes look for more ways to engage works of mercy into their liturgical year and into the daily lives of their parish families,” said Cavnar.
The 2022 Box of Joy campaign kicks off in September, and groups deliver gifts to a network of hundreds of local drop-off centers during Box of Joy Week, Nov. 5-13. Any group that misses Box of Joy Week can ship their gifts to the National Screening Center in Miami. To learn more about how to engage students, parishioners or group members in reaching needy children through Box of Joy, please visit BoxofJoy.org.
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