Just blocks away from our beautiful little parish is a beautiful school full of beautiful kids being taken care of by beautiful staff.
Last week a couple members of our parish’s UCWLC did a grocery shopping trip and delivered the food you see in these photos to Our Lady Of Peace (OLOP) Catholic School. I was invited by the principal and the UCWLC to come in and take a look at their community. They, like you would expect, were full of kids moving around from classroom to classroom, happily stepping and jumping on the dinosaur footprints laid out on the floor. They had just finished eating lunch. Due to economics, sadly many of these kids do not get lunches nor breakfasts from home. The staff of the school have made it their mission to do the best for these kids by helping them get enough to eat so that they can focus on their school work. Every day these children are fed and loved. The school used to have helpers, prepping the food, but due to tight budgets, the principal now has to come herself, extra-extra early to the school to chop vegetables, stir soup and to cup up apples.
This principle, with her staff (and with the help of our UCWLC) are living examples of Christ amongst us. You can see the love that the students have in their eyes for their principal, and the love she has for her kids. As today’s gospel says “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” they choose to love. They could instead just throw up their hands and give up on the kids, letting them be hungry and unfocused. These kids are not their kids after all, and other than an easier day in the classroom, the kids can never repay them. Rather this school chooses to give of their own time, their own resources to share and uplift the kids.
Do they need help? Abso-smurf-ly! Although this lovely pile of food certainly helps them out for several days, we represent a pittance of what they need. It would be great if we could double, triple even quadruple what we give them… but… what they want even more than our financial / food help, is our time and presence.
They have invited me to read stories to the kids (which I will start this Tuesday, with the help of Marilyn the Catechetical Puppet), to come in and talk to the kids during religion classes, paint icon with them, and just to hang out in the school.
Can you help? They would happily accept any of us who could volunteer to chop up and bag celery and carrots, or whatever food they have, for a hour or two a week. If you have some extra time you can spare please contact our UCWLC and lend them a hand. Of course, food and money would also be welcome.