St. Joseph School, Pekin, donates 77 ‘Boxes of Joy’ to children living in poverty

Members of the eighth grade confirmation class at St. Joseph School in Pekin are shown with Box of Joy packages they prepared for distribution through Cross Catholic Outreach to children living in poverty. (Provided photo)

PEKIN — Children living in poverty in Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic will have a brighter Christmas, thanks to the 180 students at St. Joseph School in Pekin.

Led by the eighth grade confirmation class, the students prepared 77 gift boxes as part of the Box of Joy Ministry of Cross Catholic Outreach. Filled with small toys, bar soap, pencils, a toothbrush, toothpaste, hard candy, crayons, coloring books or t-shirts, the boxes were taken to St. Joseph Church in Brimfield last month, which volunteered to be designated as a drop-off site for the 2017 campaign.

“The children enjoyed the role of being ‘angels,’” said Joan Moore, the seventh grade homeroom teacher at the Pekin school and project leader for Box of Joy there. “They loved that they could choose the age group and whether it would be a boy or a girl who would receive their present.”

She said that when they watched the video by Cross Catholic Outreach they were deeply moved when they saw the “bright, beautiful smiles” of the children as they opened the Boxes of Joy they received.

“The smile on the face of a child is priceless when you see them experience something that is their own for the very first time. We are grateful to everyone who became a ‘special angel’ to a child this year,” Moore said. “We know that we can never outdo God in generosity, so I’m confident that all your compassion, for a child in need, will come back to you a hundredfold from God.”

Cross Catholic Outreach’s Box of Joy is in its fourth year. The first year the organization collected 2,693 boxes and last year received 31,712 boxes, and continues to surpass its goals.

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