Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 5, 2005
Sharing warmth and food with another child
Blessed Kateri students donate clothing and hampers to Our Lady of Peace children
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"You try to teach kids what matters and this definitely goes a long ways."
- Kathy Kiss
It all began more than a month ago when Blessed Kateri's principal Palma Covelli and Kiss, a former assistant principal at Blessed Kateri, had a conversation about the approaching cold weather.
Kiss told Covelli how a lot of the students at Our Lady of Peace School came to school without heavier coats and not having boots or socks or mittens. The alarmed Covelli immediately put a note in the school newsletter asking parents for ski jackets, ski pants, mittens, hats and toques that their children were no longer using.
The response was "remarkable." In addition to bringing used clothing, parents and students brought new clothing, boots, mitts and nonperishable food. Some even gave money to buy new clothes.
"We have had carloads of stuff coming over here," confirmed Kiss. "It's nice to have Catholic schools, especially with young children, learning about sharing. We are so grateful that they are doing that."
Student Alynne Ofstedahl, 11, contributed items such as sweaters, mitts and socks.
"I did it because I want to help people that have less than me."
- Andrea Mendoza
"I feel I have to share with those who are less fortunate than me," she said. "Some children at Our Lady of Peace School don't have warm clothes to wear and may not have enough to eat on Christmas Eve. We have to support them and share our light with them."
When 10-year-old Andrea Mendoza heard about the situation at Out Lady of Peace, she talked to her parents and was able to contribute canned goods as well as winter clothes. "I did it because I want to help people that have less than me," she said. "I want to help them get through the winter."
The clothing has been distributed among several needy families at Our Lady of Peace. Kiss said the school works with parents and so it knows who is in need. But she said some parents are too proud to accept anything so the school has to be discreet. At a recent parents' conference, the clothes were placed on tables according to size so parents could pick what was right for their children.
As the weather gets colder, staff at Our Lady of Peace will keep their eyes open for students who show up without winter coats or boots.
Blessed Kateri's clothing and food campaign effectively ended Nov. 25. It was replaced with a campaign that calls for the adoption of 22 needy Our Lady of Peace families during Christmas.
Each classroom at Blessed Kateri will adopt at least one family from Our Lady of Peace providing it with a hamper full of Christmas goodies in addition to Christmas presents. Students and parents are about to begin a Coin at Christmas Campaign to fund the project.
"So we are trying to help some of the families who don't normally have a nice Christmas have a little bit more of a special Christmas this year," Covelli said.
"You know it really brings a smile to your heart knowing that there are people out here that are willing to share. It's just amazing to see."
Rhoda Hess, a mother of two Blessed Kateri students, said helping others is not an option but an obligation. "We have to share with others.
"It's not right that we eat three times a day while some people eat just once a day."
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