Generosity of Maine Students on Full Display During Catholic Schools Week
Part of the mission of Maine Catholic schools is to accentuate the importance of service with the hope of building a lifelong commitment and appreciation in each student to give back to those in need. Last week, that lesson was on full display at schools across Maine during Catholic Schools Week as students designed and completed many service projects to help local organizations, including:
St. James School, Biddeford
Students collected over 2,000 diapers for asylum-seeking families in Saco who are part of the Catholic Charities Maine Asylum Seekers Hotel Project, including people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and Haiti. Guests receive housing, cultural orientation, benefit assistance, school enrollment assistance, transportation, and are connected with health care services and community partners. For more information on how you can help in the program’s mission, call 207-620-3239 or visit www.ccmaine.org/a-z-services/asylum-seekers-hotel-project.
All Saints Catholic School, Bangor
Students collected hundreds of socks to donate to the York Street Sock Garden on York Street in Bangor, where people in need can come and take socks free of charge. The students also bagged the socks and then pinned them to the fence at the sock garden. The sock garden was established in February of 2022 to provide socks to anyone in need of them, and the initiative was an excellent opportunity to further show the students how easy it is to brighten someone’s day. For more information or to learn how you can help, visit www.allsoulsbangor.com or email [email protected].
Holy Cross School, South Portland
Students participated in a “penny war” classroom competition to raise money for the Wendi Leavitt Memorial Scholarship, which honors a longtime supporter and proud parent at Holy Cross who died at the age of 48 in October 2021. Holy Cross and the Leavitt family, including Wendi’s daughter Mari-beth, a 2017 graduate of Holy Cross and 2021 graduate of Cheverus High School, established the Wendi Leavitt Memorial Scholarship to award funds to Holy Cross graduates who will continue their education at Cheverus High School in Portland. The “penny war” raised nearly $2,000. To learn how you can donate to the scholarship fund, call the school at 207-799-6661.
St. Michael School, Augusta
Students donated items from the “wish list” of Catholic Charities Maine, including items and need for Hunger and Relief Services, refugee resettlement, child development centers, independent support services, dental supplies, and other programs. The weeklong project generated eleven large boxes full of donations with everything from winter wear to toothpaste. To learn more about ways in which you can help Catholic Charities Maine with their wish list of items for those in need, visit www.ccmaine.org/donate/wishlist.
St. Brigid School, Portland
On Wednesday, February 1, the Feast Day of St. Brigid, students offered their own take on an Irish tradition where people leave clothing outside of their homes for St. Brigid to bless on the eve of the feast. The students collected clothing donations for Preble Street in Portland which were then blessed in the school yard and delivered to the center. The students donated over 300 leggings, socks, gloves, hand warmers, hats, and t-shirts. To learn ways in which you can help the center, visit www.preblestreet.org/donate.
St. Thomas School, Sanford
Students participated in a penny challenge to raise money for Waypoint (formerly known as Waban) which offers programs and services that evolve to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, including adults and children. The penny challenge raised hundreds of dollars for the organization, and a food item drive for St. Thérèse Food Closet in Sanford collected hundreds of items. If you would like to make a monetary donation to support the closet’s mission or are able to volunteer, contact Barbara Russell at (603) 970-0306 or visit www.stthereseparishmaine.org/foodcloset. For more information about Waypoint and to learn ways you can contribute, visit www.waypointmaine.org.
Saint Dominic Academy, Auburn and Lewiston
Through dress down events, students raised over $2,500 to support the needs of the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Sabattus and St. Martin de Porres Residence and St. Catherine of Siena Residence, both in Lewiston. The St. Catherine of Siena Residence offers both shelter and hope for homeless women, while St. Martin de Porres Residence does the same for men. To discover ways you can help the residences, call 207-777-1200 or visit https://princeofpeace.me/st-martin-de-porres-residence-inc. To learn more about Loaves and Fishes or to offer your support, visit www.sabattusdominicans.org or email [email protected]. You can also send monetary donations in the form of a check made out to “Loaves & Fishes” to: Loaves & Fishes, 61 Lisbon Road, Sabattus, ME 04280.
St. John's Catholic School, Brunswick
Students at the school gathered hundreds of donations for the Brunswick Area Teen Center on Union Street in Brunswick. Established in 2005, the teen center provides a central place where young people can meet safely to explore creative outlets, share their talents, participate in intergenerational activities, and develop into well-rounded adults. To learn more about the center or to discover ways you can help, visit www.peopleplusmaine.org/brunswick-area-teen-center or call 207-721-0754.
Mount Merici Academy, Waterville
Throughout the week, students at Mount Merici Academy competed in "penny wars" to raise hundreds of dollars for the Waterville Area Soup Kitchen, which offers nutritious meals and an opportunity for socialization every Monday through Friday. Its volunteers also serve meals at outdoor locations. To learn more about the organization, including ways you can help, email [email protected], call 207-859-3063, or visit www.watervilleareasoupkitchen.com.
Cheverus High School, Portland
Students at Cheverus competed in “penny wars” to raise money for The Locker Project, which connects food-insecure children in Maine with nourishing food to improve their learning capacity, health, and future. The program distributes staples as well as donated and rescued fresh food to children and their families at more than 40 preschools, schools, and neighborhood sites in Cumberland County. To learn more about The Locker Project, including ways to help, call 207-899-9540 or visit www.mainelockerproject.org.
During the week, in addition to these service projects, students at Maine Catholic schools:
- held dinners, receptions, and other events to thank parishioners, parents, and guardians for their unwavering support of Catholic education;
- organized thank you parties for school staff and faculty;
- brought care packages to local organizations who serve our communities, like police and fire departments;
- created Valentine’s cards for nursing home residents;
- wrote letters to local first responders;
- and hosted ceremonies and made cards for local veterans to thank them for their service.
“Through the enthusiasm and hope they create in these difficult times, our Catholic schools continue to be warm and caring places where excellence in academics is encouraged, service is valued, and the importance of loving God and neighbor is celebrated,” said Bishop Robert Deeley. “May our schools continue to help our children appreciate God’s love for them and bring hope to our world.”