Count your Blessings this Lenten Season

"Whatsover you do for the least of my people, that you do unto Me." (Mt 25:40)

Each year, students in Social Justice classes at St. Anthony High School study the causes and effects of poverty in the U.S., and then respond by assembling Blessing Bags for the Homeless.
This year, students created 180 Blessing Bags filled with items to physically and spiritually uplift community members in need. This project is supported by donations from students, staff, and the Secular Franciscan Order. Together, they collected thousands of personal care items, such as: Deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, ibuprofen, lip balm/chapstick, toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors, hand warmers & toe warmers, snack bars/protein bars, adult gloves, socks, stocking hats, bus passes/tickets, phone cards, restaurant gift cards, band-aids, travel size tissues, cough drops, rosaries and holy cards.

Students then prayed over the bags and were commissioned by their teacher to distribute them to the homeless throughout the city. The following are excerpts from student narratives and reflections on their experiences:

  • “It was a nice feeling knowing that I am helping someone in need. Don’t matter if they’re different. We’re all people of God and should be there for one another. When I gave out my bag, the guy asked me why I was doing this. I said it was God that sent me. I have to look out for the people of God. He said, “Well, then, I thank God for sending you and I thank God too.” -IC
  • “I feel kinda bad because I have so much and they have so little. It made me think of how St. Teresa of Calcutta gave to the poor and helped them every day of her life. The guy was so thankful for such a small amount of things I gave him.” – GS
  •  “…This project teaches us that we need to try to help people that need more help than us. This is something I’m not used to doing, but it helps us to connect with others, giving them the justice and respect that they deserve. That’s what this class is all about. Everyone should be treated right and with dignity. I hope that people treat homeless people with more respect and give them the justice they deserve.” - DR

Projects like this remind us of why our St. Anthony School is so special and make us grateful for our amazing teachers who form our scholars. “Teaching adolescents can be very challenging at times. However, we all have moments when we realize that all our hard work, perseverance and sacrifice is well worth it. The student reflections from our Social Justice classes reveal our students’ loving and compassionate hearts.”-Mr. Kurt Keidl, OFS

Thank you to Mr. Keidl and all faculty and staff at St. Anthony School for the work you are doing in our community. Thank you to our students and families for being kid, compassionate, and dedicated to making our community a better place.

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