In a quick word-of-mouth campaign, St. John's parish and school pulled together to fill 150 "boxes of joy" in collaboration with Cross Catholic Outreach to send to impoverished children in five Central American countries.
It started one night when a St. John's parishioner and member of the parish moms' group couldn't sleep, and she saw an article about the Box of Joy ministry on the catholicmom.com website. Since she knew that several people in the moms' group had inquired about doing a service project that could be done as a family, she thought this could be a perfect opportunity. However, with the deadline being October 15th and it technically being October 16 (as it was past midnight), she had no time to get opinions and advice from others in the parish. She had to decide to sign up or miss the opportunity.
Twenty boxes sounded like a good, safe number--but then she felt the Lord tell her to sign up for 100 instead. So she did.
St. John's schoolchildren and 49 parish families responded to the call. They filled shoebox-sized boxes with toiletry items, school supplies, candy, and toys. Many also included a little note or a photograph of themselves. Each box will also have a Rosary and a book about the life of Jesus added to it by Cross Catholic Outreach.
So many people offered to help that the total far exceeded the goal. Twenty boxes became 150!
This is a story about the Holy Spirit's faithful action in our parish--first in bringing the Box of Joy project to our attention, then in moving so many people to act so quickly and so generously, and finally in inspiring different people to use their talents and resources when obstacles threatened to frustrate the effort.
Please join us in praying for the 150 children who will receive these Christmas gifts this year. If you weren't contacted to ask for help this year, it is only because it we were limited to people we had on our contacts list. Look for the service project to be repeated next year!