Many of us have wonderful childhood memories of running to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning to see what presents were for us.
Some kids, however, never receive a Christmas present. Cross Catholic Outreach, a ministry which brings hope to people in the poorest of countries, seeks to bring Christmas joy to children who would otherwise not receive a present.
The “Box of Joy” program invites people to fill a box, the size of a shoebox, with gifts for children. Many of our parishes and schools are participating in the Box of Joy effort this year and I ask you consider filling one of these boxes.
Below this article is the list of parishes and schools where boxes can be obtained. Each box is labeled as to whether it is for a boy or girl as well as their age.
The children who will receive these boxes live in abject poverty. Their homes often have dirt floors and lack running water. Their parents struggle to eke out an existence and have no disposal money for Christmas presents.
A Box of Joy can be easily filled at a dollar store. Simple gifts are often the best. The kids are delighted with anything in a Box of Joy. Perhaps include a toothbrush, or a pencil and pad, or a toy car, a jump rope, a ball, hard candies (nothing that can melt), etc.
When buying items, imagine yourself as a kid who has nothing. What would bring a smile to your face? Last year Cross Catholic Outreach collected 58,030 Boxes of Joy from donors across the U.S. The people of the Archdiocese of Mobile donated 4,518 of those boxes. We donated more boxes than any other diocese in the country! And some dioceses are substantially larger than ours.
Thank you for your generosity and the love you make visible to the children whose Christmas is a little brighter because of you. Sometimes I am asked why go to the trouble of sending a small gift box to children when the needs that they and their families face are so great?
Cross Catholic Outreach devotes great effort to addressing those larger needs. CCO provides medicines, construction of homes, safe water supply, job training, food and clothing. CCO seeks to transform communities and lives by working with Catholic ministries in areas struggling with poverty and hunger.
However, the main purpose of all this effort is to bring the love of Jesus to others and to give hope. While we work with adults to address the challenges of their lives and the lives of their families, we want the children in a special way to have hope and to know that they are not forgotten.
There is perhaps no better way to do this than to send a Christmas present. The Box of Joy brings hope and joy to the kids and lets them know someone loves God and loves them. Please remember the boxes need to be returned to the parish or school by the end of October so that they can be taken to an area drop-off location in November and shipped in time for the kids to receive them before Christmas. Again, thank you and may God bless you.