Bring ‘Boxes of Joy’ for needy children to Brimfield parish hall in early November  

Two siblings in Guatemala share their excitement in opening a “Box of Joy” gift box from a generous donor.

By Paul Thomas Moore

BRIMFIELD — Contacted on the tractor while she was helping with the harvest “if it doesn’t rain,” Box of Joy organizer Tina Windish of St. Joseph Parish, Brimfield, said she is hoping for a different kind of bumper crop come November. From Nov. 4-12, she would welcome a “rain” of shoebox-sized boxes with gifts for some of the world’s poorest children.

Now in its 10th year, the Box of Joy program is coordinated by the international relief and development ministry Cross Catholic Outreach.

Parents and grandparents are invited to make filling a Box of Joy an early family Christmas project to show how giving engenders as much joy as receiving.

“I’ve had grandmothers come up to me or a mother or father and they say we take our child with a box to the store and let the child pick what goes in it,” said Windish. “It’s a very well-rounded teaching experience.”

In addition to families, any parish, school, church group, or individual is asked to pack gift boxes (any shoebox-sized container approximately 12” long x 6” wide x 4” tall) with small, age-appropriate presents for a boy or girl, ages 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Gift options might include dolls or small plush toys, coloring books and crayons, hard candies that won’t melt, T-shirts, dresses, a purse or wallet, sunglasses, hair ribbons, solar calculators, pencils, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Military-style toys are discouraged.


Windish will accept boxes at St. Joseph Parish’s Harrison Hall at 320 E. Illinois St. on Saturday, Nov. 11, and Sunday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those who would like to bring their gift box before then are asked to make an appointment by calling her at (309) 742-3081.

There is a $9 shipping fee for each gift box which can be paid online at, or by sending a check payable to St. Joseph Catholic Church to P.O. Box 199, Brimfield, IL 61517 (put “Box of Joy” in the memo line).

In addition, checks for any amount will be accepted at the above address. Windish advises she would be able to fill about three to four gift boxes for a $100 donation — including shipping fees. She said last year she received more than $1,000 in donations from readers of The Catholic Post.

In 2022, the St. Joseph collection site provided Cross Catholic Outreach with a record-high 842 gift boxes to distribute to children in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, and Malawi.

Parishes and schools that brought Boxes of Joy to the Brimfield drop-off center last year included The High School of St. Thomas More, Champaign; St. Joseph School, Pekin; St. Augustine Parish, St. Augustine; St. John the Baptist Parish, Rapids City; St. Jude Parish and School, Peoria; St. Mary of the Woods Parish, Princeville; St. Anthony Parish, Bartonville; St. Joseph Parish, Brimfield; St. James Parish, Williamsfield; St. John the Apostle Parish, Woodhull, and a generous — but anonymous — donor in Springfield who brought in 73 boxes.

For more information, call Windish at (309) 742-3081, or visit

In the Ottawa Vicariate, please contact Box of Joy organizer Nympha White at (815) 483-3013, or at



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