When an entire school—16 buses with 600 students and 175 parent volunteers—takes a day out of the classroom to serve their surrounding community, the results can be impressive.
“We have succeeded in setting our school community on fire with a love for service to God’s people and Creation,“ St. Francis Xavier president Deb Rodde told her students after the school’s third annual Service Day, which took place on Friday.
“Service Day at Xavier is for me, and I hope for all of you too, the very best day of our school year, because it brings out the very best in all of us.”
Here’s what it looks like:
- An adopted giraffe and 150 Christmas ornaments on a tree at the Brookfield Zoo.
- Christmas carols and 15 hand-tied blankets for, and bingo with, 42 residents at Bethlehem Woods.
- $403.22 for Pennies for Peace, 140 ornaments and 600 cards for School on Wheels.
- The sale of 327 coats and 565 hats, gloves and scarves to raise $2,098 for senior citizens’ heating bills.
- 27,432 meals and 127 boxes of food packed for Feed My Starving Children.
- 150 care packages prepared for veterans at Hines VA Hospital.
- 69 new friends made with SEASPAR and 59 thank-you cards to SEASPAR staff.
- 6,150 lbs of rice bagged to feed 8000 people and $450 donated to the SFX food pantry from work at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
- 4,000 lbs of fresh produce delivered to 200 Chicago families.
- Work with 24 Misericordia residents.
The program, established three years ago by school moms Katie Filbin, Elizabeth Fisher and Mary Freeman, is designed to teach students service values in the spirit of St. Xavier himself, a missionary who preached Christianity in Asia in the 1500s.
Students spoke warmly of their community service experiences to an assembly after the conclusion of the day. (Unfortunately, while Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, was scheduled to attend, he could not due to chemotherapy treatment.)
“I was so happy when I heard how many boxes were packed for starving children,” said fourth-grader Tommy Asleson. “We had a great time doing it and it was so fun to think that we could make a difference.”
“I felt really good about packing and wrapping the boxes for our servicemen and women, “ fifth-grader Molly McElligott said. “[It] helps us to show our gratitude for the protection they provide for our country.”