A Box of Love® contains a whole Thanksgiving feast for an entire family. The purpose of these boxes is not only to ensure that a family can enjoy the holiday well but to open doors of relationship between the church and the neighborhood. This can lead to long-term relationships and changed lives.
Two volunteers from a neighborhood inner-city church made a delivery to a single mother named Dawn. Dawn was living with her two young children and her mother in a small hotel room. Their residence had recently burned to the ground and they lost everything. Their lives were on the edge before, but this was devastating! Being in a state of chaos, food for Thanksgiving seemed so unimportant and insignificant.
However, both Dawn and her mother were incredibly encouraged by the Box of Love. To them, it provided a way to have a sense of normalcy in the midst of tragedy. It reminded them that they were not alone. The volunteers from the church were able to encourage this family and offer ongoing relationship and support. Now that this neighborhood church has made a connection to Dawn they can continue to journey with her and offer her life-giving relationships.
Laurie had just moved into her new apartment. It wasn't much, but it was a step in the right direction on her road to recovery. Laurie had become caught in the snare of drugs and destructive relationships and it had stolen her life. She heard that the local church a few blocks away was giving away food and signed up to receive a Box of Love.
Two volunteers from the church came to deliver the box and engaged her in conversation. Laurie began to share more of her story and as the conversation continued, she began to see how God was pursuing her. "The landlord here is a generous man, and he let me in without a deposit. And now you are showing up with food!" Laurie explained. "This will be the first Thanksgiving I get to have with my kids in five years."
"Is there anything else we can do for you?" the volunteers asked as they stood up to leave.
"Well," she hesitated, "With my kids coming over tomorrow, I could really use some more toilet paper." To that the volunteers went to the local grocery store and not only picked up toilet paper, but noticing that turkeys were on sale, picked one up to take back as well. Laurie was speechless when they returned and thanked them profusely as tears began to well up in her eyes.
The Vision of Boxes of Love
Boxes of Love is an initiative of Cru®. It has been an annual tradition of the ministry since the mid-1980s and takes place in about 15 major cities across the nation each year.
The options can be painfully limited for families that are struggling around the holidays. When it comes to Thanksgiving, the choices are usually to either celebrate in a church basement or community center with strangers, or to not celebrate at all. Boxes of Love strives to give families the dignity of a third option — the one that most families would prefer — to celebrate with loved ones within the walls of their own home.
A Box of Love contains everything needed for a full Thanksgiving feast for a family of up to six. It is delivered to their doorstep by trained volunteers from local, inner-city churches. These churches have the capacity to follow-up receiving families and offer ongoing life-giving relationships all year round. The need is great. So a Box of Love can be an enormous blessing to hungry children and adults, but it is the ongoing care provided by local churches that can really reshape the destiny of a family.
The strategic principle underlining everything Cru does in urban communities is the belief that if every inner-city church was fully resourced, developed, and mobilized we would see dramatic redemption and restoration in our neighborhoods, cities, and nation.