Catholic schools across the diocese are helping those affected by the hurricanes that rocked the southern part of the country.
One such effort, organized by the National Catholic Educational Association, is called “Student to Student: A Catholic School Response for Hurricane Relief 2017.” It began Sept. 1 and challenges Catholic school families across the country to contribute at least $1 toward the campaign.
When principal Mary Miller of St. John’s-St. Andrew’s School in Greenwald heard about the NCEA’s request for student-to-student assistance to provide hurricane relief, she jumped at the chance to help out.
“At the end of each day, we gather in the hallway for prayer. We encouraged each student to bring a dollar,” Miller said. “If every child in every Catholic school across the country brought just $1, that would be a lot of dollars.”
Even though St. John’s-St. Andrew’s has only 38 students, they were able to raise $169 to send to NCEA.
NCEA will distribute 100 percent of the funds collected to dioceses in the affected areas for their Catholic school communities in vital need of support due to the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma that caused severe damage in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.
Other area Catholic schools have also conducted efforts to provide additional relief.
Lynn Peterson, principal of Holy Family School in Sauk Centre, said students have been keeping hurricane victims in their daily prayers and took up a “bring your change or money” collection.
They raised $1,200, which they also sent to NCEA for the Student-to-Student Hurricane Relief.
All Saints Academy in St. Cloud and St. Joseph are doing “Hats for Harvey.” On designated days, kids can wear a hat with a dollar donation.
Sacred Heart School in Freeport took up a collection and, through their local credit union, were able to receive a matching donation, turning their $1,000 into $2,000 for hurricane relief.
Susan Scipioni, principal of St. Andrew School in Elk River shared that their school is going to “tithe Workathon money to assist victims” and send it to Catholic Charities.
“The kids usually get a financial incentive where we rent inflatables for a day of play,” Scipioni said. “They are giving up the inflatables for the money to go to hurricane relief. That’s really a sacrifice for them, but it was their choice to do something for someone else.”
Margaret Kaplow, a spokesperson for NCEA said it is still trying to verify how many and which schools were damaged by the hurricanes.
“We are still trying to determine exactly which ones are affected. Our directors and president have been calling diocesan offices to try to reach superintendents so we can know which dioceses have damages. But we are only reaching some, as you can imagine, because power is out and offices are closed,” Kaplow said.
Miller said it’s been a good teaching opportunity for the students.
“We really try and teach them a sense of generosity, to always be thankful for what they have,” Miller said. “This was a way to remind them that there are people who are without electricity or clean water, their schools and churches damaged.
“It is also a way of realizing that every little bit of money can make a difference,” she said.