KENNEBUNK — Holy Spirit Parish (St. Martha Church, Kennebunk; St. Mary Church, Wells; All Saints Church, Ogunquit) will participate in a program that helps provide shoeboxes full of gifts to mission children in South America who have never received Christmas presents before.

Participating in the “Box of Joy” initiative is simple. Individuals and families fill a shoebox or shoeboxes with gifts and mark the box for a boy or a girl and the approximate age. Then, they simply drop off the box at St. Martha Church (34 Portland Road, Kennebunk) or St. Mary Church (236 Eldridge Road, Wells) by Sunday, Nov. 15.

“By packing ‘Boxes of Joy’ with toys and other gifts, participants bless children suffering from extreme poverty by sharing the joy of Christmas and planting seeds of hope,” said Lisa White, one of the organizers of the project at Holy Spirit Parish.

Boxes can be dropped off before and after Masses at St. Martha (Mondays through Fridays at 9 a.m., Saturdays 4 p.m., Sundays at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.) or St. Mary (Mondays through Fridays at 8 a.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m., Sundays at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.). Boxes can also be dropped off at the parish offices. 

“Participants are asked to enclose a $9 check in the gift boxes made out to ‘Cross Catholic Outreach’ to cover shipping costs,” said White.  

Thanks to Cross Catholic Outreach, all the boxes will be delivered to children in need living in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Guatemala to spread joy and mercy at Christmas time. A list of recommended gifts as well as a list of what cannot be sent appear on the website of Cross Catholic Outreach (, which oversees nearly 300 service projects in 36 countries worldwide. In general, toys, hygiene items, and school supplies are acceptable. Items should be new or like new, and should not include liquids, food, or anything related to violence.

For more information about the project at Holy Spirit Parish, contact Lisa White at 207- 351-0502 or If you are interested in starting a “Box of Joy” program at your parish, call 207-938-3030 or email Elyse Wilson at