Catholic schools exist to teach and live the tenets of the faith, model virtues and serve others. Service projects ramp up during the holidays when local charities and communities demonstrate need even more than other times throughout the year. Catholic school students serve 1000s of hours of community service annually, but especially spend time throughout the Advent Season to serve those in need among our community.
In the Diocese of Phoenix, service and charity take many forms. Xavier College Preparatory just accomplished a landmark food drive. They collected and donated 603,499 cans of food and more than $60,000 in donations for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. This was the largest canned food drive and donations they participated in the school’s 79 year history! When asked why she was involved, Senior and NHS President, Bryn Murphy said, “I’ve always been passionate about fundraising and St. Vincent de Paul. It was great to be involved with my fellow students as well as my own family. Everyone came together to
raise funds and contribute canned goods for such a worthy cause.” Xavier students also participate in feeding the underserved and homeless at The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s food kitchens throughout the year.
Queen of Peace Catholic School in Mesa collected names from two senior citizen centers in Mesa and have a Giving Tree to collect items for seniors who do not receive much family support. “The 8th grade students deliver the collected gifts and the visit sometimes brings more joy than the gifts themselves,” said principal Renee Baeza.
At San Francisco de Asis Catholic School in Flagstaff, each class collects socks and coats for Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities is always in need of these items in the winter. San Francisco de Asis does this collection every year. The studnets are encouraged to have a strong spirit of giving by learning more from Catholic Charities about the people they have servedthrough their clothing donations.
Here at Catholic Education Arizona we participate in a toy drive for Catholic Charities every year. Each employeee brings in different items from the list given to us that states items that are most needed for families, along with toys for children of all ages.
St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School participates in a toy drive Mary’s Ministry in south Phoenix. Principal Xochitl Ramirez stated, “There is a great need every year. The number of people in line for food boxes on Saturdays has increased from the typical one block to four blocks long. The same people lined up for food are typically the same people who come for the toy distribution event.”
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School spreads joy as well as meeting a need this year. Each class will decorate a small Christmas tree that will be distributed to the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home. Students also collect diapers. The diaper drive is something the school participated in years ago and rewnewed over 2020 to participate in again. The diapers collected will benefit the Diaper Bank of Central Arizona. The Diaper Bank provides diapers to anyone in need, from infants to adults.
Annunciation Catholic School in Cave Creek looks to attain a goal of collecting 300 sets of pajamas for foster children this Christmas. If the goal is reached, students will receive a “Pajama Day” at school December 17th.
There is no shortage of need this year. CEA is proud to support schools and parish communities that answer the call for generosity.
*Xavier Canned Food Drive information came from Xavier College Prep press release and photo came from North Central Phoenix News