When I know of someone unable to leave their home or the hospital, I decorate a large box with wrapping paper, label it “Sunshine Box.” I place the box on a table in the church foyer. Then I spread the word that we are doing a Sunshine Box and ask folks to bring in a small gift.

I try to provide suggestions, especially if I know the person’s favorites, such as crossword puzzle books, magazines, or CDs. I also suggest giving gift cards for restaurants that provide take-out meals. When we have a few gifts, I deliver the Sunshine Box to the person in need with instructions that they are to open one gift per day until the gifts are gone.

I love how this can bring a bit of sunshine and joy to each day. It’s also a simple way everyone can be a part of the person’s recovery. When my own grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and given a short time to live, she was like a little child, anticipating the opening of gifts from her Sunshine Box. She would stay awake until midnight because she said that was the start of a new day, so that meant she could open the next gift!


Marsha Gabbard is an ordained minister and women’s ministry leader from Ohio. She enjoys planning parties, decorating her home, and spending time in the Smoky Mountains.

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