You’ve read articles from me about all the wonderful donations we receive from our own parishoners,  those from other Catholic churches,  members of other religious organizations,   grants from foundations,  local businesses, etc.   This week I’d like to tell you about all the wonderful ways children are involved.

Just a few weeks ago, a young man, aged 8,  came to visit me with his mom.  He wanted to present a cash donation to me;  he handed me a little baggie containing $63.00.  He explained to me that it was money he had received for a recent birthday,  along with money he had made at a yard sale.  I was really touched that a child so young would be so thoughtful as to share gifts he had received; and I was duly impressed that he was obviously a product of parents that helped instill the importance of  helping others less fortunate.

Our parish youth group worked on a ‘brackets’ project during Lent and organized 70+  italian dinner baskets to share with our guests.  Last Christmas, they gathered hundreds of hygiene items for us.

Our school children recently brought in donations of washcloths and deodorant during Catholic School Week.  They frequently  can be seen coming down the stairs with their donations of food for our pantry.  And at Christmas and Thanksgiving, they are always fully engaged helping us gather gifts for families in need.

A few of our young moms that are volunteers  sometimes bring their children in;  our diabetic shopper can be seen shelving food with her kids after school.  One of our interviewers brings in her daughter when she’s not in school and she helps pick out clothes and food for our guests.   Another youngster helped us  sort a mountain of hygiene items.  One of our families involves their children in preparing bag lunches for our guests one day a week.

Before Sister left, she led a final tour of school children through the Center. We have a wonderful folder of thank you notes from them.  Many made comments about wanting to go home and find clothes and toys they’d like to donate.  My favorite note read  “I think the most important thing that I learned is this: the less fortunate are still human beings, so they deserve the things we have. Learning about this wonderful center made me feel so good inside. And I think I have changed because of this. I think that it changed me in a way that I care about others more.”

Blessings to all our families for teaching their children to open their hearts to others.