The following blog was contributed by Cross Catholic Outreach.
One of the greatest gifts of a Catholic school education is that children get to learn from an early age the beauty of the Catholic Church’s social doctrine. In fact, instilling values and moral teachings has recently been identified as one of the keys to the long-term success of the U.S. Catholic school system.
One of the ways Catholic educators can instill values is by getting students involved in meaningful service projects rooted in Catholic Social Teaching. Increasingly, teachers, school administrators and faith formation directors are turning to Box of Joy, a gift-giving ministry that gets students of all ages involved in blessing children in developing countries. In this article, you will learn:
- How Box of Joy unites U.S. students with impoverished children in countries like Haiti, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
- The five easy steps to bring Box of Joy to your school or classroom.
- Important Box of Joy dates and deadlines, with links to sign up.
The feeling of being forgotten, left out and alone is all too familiar for children in developing countries. These precious little ones often grow up with limited access to healthy meals, clean water and safe housing. When the Christmas season comes around, these disheartening challenges hit families the hardest.
In many of these impoverished communities, few children — if any — have ever received a Christmas gift.
Through Box of Joy, a ministry of Cross Catholic Outreach, U.S. Catholics unite with the global Catholic Church to bless children with hand-packed Christmas gifts. By sending Box of Joy gifts filled with toys, clothing, school supplies, hygiene items and more, U.S. Catholic schools can forge a powerful spiritual connection with needy students living in developing countries. When students pack Box of Joy gifts for impoverished children, they exemplify generosity, thankfulness and cultivate a servant’s heart. Through this experience, students in Catholic schools develop a greater awareness of world poverty, with an opportunity to put their faith into action. It is the hope of the ministry that each giftbox transforms the life of the child who receives it as well as the heart of the child who packed it.
Box of Joy provides hope to children in need. Each child who receives a Box of Joy also receives a rosary and a story about Jesus written in their own language. It is the prayer of the Box of Joy ministry that these gifts will provide joy and share the message of eternal hope found in Christ while furthering the evangelization of the Catholic Church around the globe. Since the Box of Joy ministry is implemented through trusted Catholic ministry partners, a bridge is built between the local Catholic parish and the poor families in the communities they serve.
Learn More: Box of Joy Frequently Asked Questions
Box of Joy reached 106,000 children in 2021 in Guatemala, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada and Honduras. This year, the ministry wants to bless even more children with a tangible expression of God’s love.
Getting involved in Box of Joy is simple:
Step 1: Sign up online by October 28, and Cross Catholic Outreach will send your school’s project leader empty gift boxes along with helpful information to make your experience fun, easy and inspiring.
Step 2: Explore fun ideas to get your group ready to participate in Box of Joy,
Step 3: Students and their families choose the age and gender of a child they want to bless. Students then shop for and pack their boxes with toys, games, candy, school supplies and other practical items from the suggested shopping list.
Step 4: Students return the filled boxes along with a $9 donation per box to cover international shipping and support the work of priests, sisters and Catholic lay missionaries in the communities the recipient children live.
Step 5: Deliver the gift boxes to the nearest Drop-Off Center during Box of Joy Week (November 5-13) or ship the boxes to our National Screening Center in South Florida. We’ll add a rosary and a story about Jesus to every box before shipping boxes to our Catholic partners overseas.
Box of Joy is a hands-on opportunity to teach children about how we should see Jesus in the faces of the poor and marginalized. It’s also a way to show boys and girls the Catholic Church’s preferential option for the poor, along with our responsibility to uphold the dignity of others. Beyond that, your school’s participation will be a tangible expression of God’s love to children overseas who pray for just one Christmas gift.
Do something special for children in need. Register your school or group, and we’ll help you from there!