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Freshmen Deliver Happiness: Box of Joy

by Allan Tompkins

Photo Credit: Maximus Barrenechea

To millions of people around the world, Christmas is a time of gift-giving and joy. Yet, many children are not nearly as fortunate as we are and do not get to experience opening up presents under the Christmas tree every year. That's where Box of Joy comes in—a company that "provides schools, parishes, organizations, and families with an inspiring opportunity to send gifts to Haiti, Guatemala, and other developing countries," as stated on their website.

Essentially, a Box of Joy is a shoebox that is filled up with goodies such as toys, games, or clothing that parishes and schools across the nation prepare. Along with whatever gifts come inside the box, a rosary and a booklet in the child's language that tells the story of Jesus are included. This gives each child an understanding of how Christmas is not only a time to give and receive gifts, but is also a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This Christmas season, 30 freshmen signed up to help prepare these donation boxes for children living in poor environments and partook in a valuable experience.

"I decided to sign up because I wanted to help those kids and give them a memorable Christmas," said freshman, Mark Tanner

Many of us don't realize the many blessings we have and helping Box of Joy by setting up even one donation box can cause us to see how lucky we are to live in the environment we do today. As a Marist community, it is also important to spread our faith, and introducing children to God at a young age through these donations can impact them and those around them more than we think.

Freshman, Maximus Barrenechea said, "It's important to expose God to these kids because He can help them in their darkest and toughest times."

Box of Joy is the necessary light to guide these children down the right path in life. Whether they live in abusive households, poor environments, or lack an education, introducing Jesus to them can help them talk to someone when no one else will listen. Not only this, but providing young children with the same feeling we felt seeing all the presents neatly wrapped under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning sparks a light in all of our souls to do good.

Photo Credit: Maximus Barrenechea

During the Christmas season, we are all used to always receiving gifts and thanking our family members for the presents that they gave us. However, in Box of Joy, you get to feel how good it is to give the gifts yourself. The boys soon realized that, sometimes, the art of gift-giving is so much better than the art of receiving, because you know that you made that person happy and gave them something that will brighten their day at any given moment.

"After the event, I felt overjoyed at how many boxes we had packaged for the needy children of underprivileged nations," said freshman, Eduardo Gutierrez.

When Box of Joy was started, it dreamed of creating a world where everyone could experience Christmas as we do, and they sure have come a long way. With the help of these freshmen who share this dream with Box of Joy, they can make it come true for all the children in poor environments who might not even know who Jesus Christ is and what this time represents.

If you missed out on this event, don't worry—whether on weekdays or weekends, Box of Joy remains open to anyone willing to lend a hand, regardless of background or beliefs. In their enthusiastic engagement with Box of Joy, the freshmen exemplified true compassion and care for those in need and have set a heartwarming example to all.

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