Video: Love in a Box brings Christmas joy to Europe’s children in need

By Matthew Davies
Posted Dec 22, 2014

[Episcopal News Service] For many orphans and disadvantaged children throughout Europe, being able to open a gift on Christmas Day is merely a dream.

Love in a Box, a ministry of the American Cathedral in Paris, is committed to changing that reality. For more than a decade, the ministry has helped to put a smile on the faces of children who often have very little to smile about.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, several packing shifts are organized by coordinators Judy Nicault and Betsi Dwyer with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and volunteers from local schools loading boxes and backpacks with practical gifts, a few fun items, and some candy. This year, the final count of 3,218 boxes and backpacks is a record.

Didier Chastagnier from The Salvation Army drives the 12-hour round trip from Strasbourg to Paris and parks his van outside the American Cathedral on the first Sunday in Advent.

At the end of the service the choir and congregation take the boxes and process out of the cathedral to Chastagnier’s van where the gifts are loaded ready for distribution to European countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

— Matthew Davies is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.


Comments (5)

  1. Lisa Rothstein Benson says:

    I participated in this program while i was in Paris in the late 1990s and early 2000s. for a couple of years, I helped pack the boxes. But one year was my favorite. I had a job singing at Disneyland Paris, and as an employee, I got a huge discount at the company store. I bought about 100 euros of adorable small toys at around .10 each and brought them in an enormous sack to the Cathedral to add to the boxes. I felt like Santa that year! It is a wonderful program.

    1. martha knight says:

      This ministry is so exciting. So glad to see such positive ministries.

  2. martha knight says:

    What a wonderful ministry.

  3. Karen Birr says:

    Operation Christmas Shoe Box has been going on for years also. This ministry is from the Rev. Franklin Graham. My home parish has been participating in this ministry for years. They sound similar. Both are good ministries and shows God’s love.

    1. Whit Johnstone says:

      Grahmn’s ministry, which is, I must admit a good one, despite the fact that I disagree with the man’s politics, is focused on helping children in foreign countries. This mission is a domestic one- the box that is to say that it takes place within the EU- indeed, most of the boxes stay in Paris.

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