Local organization makes Christmas dreams for Latin American kids (includes video story)

In a world often marked by the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the initiative Box of Joy is making a difference in the lives of children in Haiti, Guatemala and other developing countries. 

The project, part of Cross Catholic Outreach, accepts gifts all year round to send in December when the holiday season rolls around. Though it’s a religious organization, anyone is welcome to contribute to the gift-giving joy.

“We have blessed over half a million children and brought joy into the lives of the forgotten,” said Tessie O’dea, the initiative’s relationship development manager.

These shoeboxes aren’t mass-produced in a factory, they are uniquely packaged with toys, hygienic supplies, clothes and candy. Volunteers from parishes, schools, and groups across the United States select the items to put in the box that will bring smiles to children’s faces.

In addition to material gifts, each child who receives a Box of Joy is given a rosary and a religious booklet. 

“This organization seeks to bring hope, joy and faith to the kids across Latin America and Africa and remind them that they are not alone,” said O’dea.

Abdul Djabbour is a Digital Communications Media and Journalism with a Social Media and E-Marketing minor student at Florida International University. He has a passion for the media, he’s a writer for PantherNow and he would like to be a TV anchor or reporter to inform and give a voice to his community.