St. Joseph Parish, Brimfield, again invites “Box of Joy” gifts for needy children

Children in Guatemala celebrate receiving "Boxes of Joy" through a campaign sponsored by Cross Catholic Outreach. This year, St. Joseph Church in Brimfield is a regional drop-off center for the boxes, which are to contain gifts for impoverished children in the Caribbean and Central America. (CNS/Cross Catholic Outreach)

BRIMFIELD — Christmas may seem far away, but now is the time to act to provide hope for children in need around the world, and St. Joseph Parish is ready to help.

Once again the Brimfield parish will be a drop-off center for Cross Catholic Outreach and its Box of Joy program, which invites people to fill a shoebox-size container with gifts for a girl or boy. By signing up online, those who are interested will receive boxes and supplemental materials at no cost, as well as step-by-step instructions for packing, according to Tina Windish, project leader at St. Joseph.

She said it is important for parishes, schools and individuals to make plans now, however, since the deadline for enrolling online is Oct. 20. This will provide plenty of time for Cross Catholic Outreach to ship the materials.

Packed boxes may be brought to St. Joseph’s Harrison Hall, 320 E. Illinois St., on Saturday, Nov. 10, or Sunday, Nov. 11, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Windish may be able to schedule pick-ups on a limited basis the week before.

St. Joseph and its sister parish, St. James in Williamsfield, participated in the Box of Joy program for the first time in 2016. That year they were able to fill 146 boxes and deliver them to St. Louis, the nearest drop-off center, Windish said. Last year, the parish volunteered to be a drop-off site for central Illinois and collected 217 boxes.

In 2017, Cross Catholic Outreach received 46,360 Boxes of Joy from 476 parishes, schools and groups, and distributed them to Haiti (15,935 boxes), the Dominican Republic (14,343 boxes), Guatemala (8,121 boxes) and Nicaragua (7,961 boxes).

This year the program will expand to include El Salvador.

A $9 donation is requested for each box to help with shipping to its final destination. A portion supports Catholic ministries in the child’s community.

For more information, including a list of suggested gifts, visit CrossCatholic.org/BoxofJoy or call Windish at (309) 742-3081.

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