Last week, we reached that day in February that comes every four years – Leap Day. While we are grateful for each and every day that God gives us, we at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School were particularly grateful for this extra day of life in 2012 and wanted to celebrate in a special way: with service to the to those in need in our greater Pinellas County community.
The festivities actually started more than a week before Leap Day, when students and teachers began their discussions about the parables and Catholic Social Teaching. Through the parables, Christ tell us very clearly that we are called to feed the hungry, for “whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) Catholic Social Teaching challenges Catholics with the Preferential Option for the Poor, ensuring that we always care for the most vulnerable of our society.
As a response to our baptismal call, the students of Our Lady of Lourdes decided to take action and feed the hungry. All of the students gathered in the cafeteria early Wednesday morning where they found tables lined with loaves of bread, stacks of paper bags, and cases of snacks. After a blessing from Father Gary, the students disbursed to their stations and began work creating bag lunches for the residents of Pinellas Hope.
Students in seventh and eighth grade began work on over 200 ham and cheese sandwiches in assembly line fashion while sixth graders caught each creation in a ziplock bag. They passed the sandwiches off to the fourth and fifth graders who were sorting pudding cups and apples while the third graders individually bagged handfuls of pretzels. The primary students worked hard decorating bags with messages of love and hope. Every student in Kindergarten came up with their own theme for the bag, such as “God is love” and “I am your friend.” Within 30 minutes, everything was sorted and bagged. Then all hands were on deck to fill the bags and pack them into large boxes to be placed in Mrs. Rehm’s car.
A few hours later, Mrs. Rehm, Mrs. Bogataj, Ms. Stoeckle, and some wonderful parent volunteers rode down to Pinellas Hope with a group of student representatives from COOLL Kids. COOLL Kids is a new organization on our campus that promotes community service. The name stands for “Catholic Outreach of Our Lady of Lourdes,” and that is exactly what they did on Leap Day.
The residents and employees of Pinellas Hope were thrilled with the donations. Students from COOLL Kids took a tour of the facilities, learning about all of the various services they provide for the homeless of our community. The students distributed lunches and were able to spend time getting to know many of the residents.
We at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School are blessed to be a part of a community so committed to the mission of Christ. Inspired by the families we serve, we are honored to continue the work as Christ’s hands and feet both inside and outside of our school doors.