This week, as part of their annual Christian Service Project, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School third graders assembled Easter baskets to donate to Catholic Charities of Orange County. The organization distributes the baskets to needy families with children who are struggling with homelessness and living out of motels and hotels in the local area.
The project is the culmination of months of work by students, teachers, and families to raise the funds necessary to purchase the baskets and wrapping materials as well as outfit the baskets with toys, school supplies, and personal hygiene products. Starting in September, classes collect and turn in recyclable goods, complete community projects, and do chores at home for donations to the cause.
“Fundraising isn’t always big banners and huge profits, every little bit counts,” third grade teacher, Morgen O’Connell said.
Students create cards for each gift with a personal message of hope and faith, they then pray over the baskets and ask God to bless the children and families who receive them. Before delivering the baskets, teachers help students think deeply, empathize, and reflect on the feelings of the children who will receive them. Students are encouraged to keep these individuals in their thoughts and prayers throughout the year.
“Our students learn that the work they do is important not because of its ability to solve the big huge problems facing our world, but in its ability to help one person. It may be just a drop in the bucket, but there is great power in a drop,” said O’Connell.
Christian Service Projects are a powerful way St. Francis students see the Gospel in action. These endeavors enables students to experience what it means to help people not because they want to be “nice,” or because they expect to “get something back in return,” but because of a genuine connection felt to others as God’s children.