Written by Mary Beth Peabody
From soup to pillows — with diapers, tissues, water bottles and other necessities in between — several South Jersey Catholic Schools made their mark by sending supplies to Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico after the recent hurricanes. Other schools made generous cash contributions through special fundraisers and dress-down days. Some schools consolidated contributions with their local parishes, while others donated through the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), Catholic Relief Services, religious orders, or directly to Catholic schools in affected areas. The schools collected and donated more than $15,000.
“We wanted to help another school in need,” said Cathryn Flammer, advancement director at Assumption Regional Catholic School in Galloway.
Flammer said Assumption reached out to a former school family who moved to Texas. “Their school wasn’t affected, but they directed us to another one that was,” she said. A school dress-down day supported Assumption’s fundraising effort on behalf of Sacred Heart School in Rockport, Texas.
When hurricanes Irma and Maria struck, followed by fires in Napa, Assumption student council members continued to raise funds. They set up Change for Charity, with jars in every homeroom to collect money for needy schools in Florida, Puerto Rico and California.
Students at Saint Teresa Regional School measured their contributions in pounds — 700 pounds in fact. With connections through friends and family members in Puerto Rico, the school was able to ship coveted ‘every day’ items to the people of Puerto Rico.
In Haddonfield, the Christ the King Regional School Community formed a prayer circle to “Let the Son shine” on those who were most affected by the hurricanes. They prayed that the people who were left most in need in the aftermath of the storms would come to know and feel the warmth of God’s love through the kindness and generosity of others. School families contributed generously for victims Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, and for displaced and homeless families from Puerto Rico who were forced to relocate to the mainland United States — many of them to South Jersey.
“It’s coming from the students… this desire to help and serve others,” said Catholic schools Superintendent Mary Boyle. “They are leaders, learning and living gospel values with love and generosity.”
Mary Beth Peabody is communications and marketing manager, Office of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Camden.