Kindness During COVID: How Schools Are Helping Each Other
June 4th 2020
It was Mr. Fred Rogers who famously said that when he was younger and saw, “scary things in the news,” his mother would say, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
For the past three years, Holy Angels Catholic School, in downtown Indianapolis, has teamed up with Christ the King Catholic School, in South Bend, as part of their service immersion experience for their 8th graders.
Christ the King brings their 8th graders to Indianapolis for three days in May to volunteer at different locations around town. The last day they spend with their “buddies” from Holy Angels. The 3rd and 4th graders from Holy Angels are paired up with students from Christ the King and they spend time writing to each other throughout the school year. In May, the 8th graders travel from South Bend to Indianapolis and go to the Children’s Museum, local parks, and just spend time with the students they’ve been corresponding with all year.
“It is an amazing opportunity for the 8th graders to learn about a world completely different than their own,” said Justin Armitage, principal of Holy Angels Catholic School. “It allows for all the kids to grow in their faith journey and see things from a different perspective.”
One condition of the trip is that the students raise all the money by themselves. By the time COVID-19 hit, they had completed two very successful fundraisers that covered the entire cost of the trip. Since they had already completed all of their fundraising efforts for the three day trip they couldn’t make, they had extra funds they wanted to share. Father Steve Croix from Christ the King contacted Armitage about donating some of their funds for Holy Angels to use in any way they needed.
Armitage made the decision to use the funds to buy extra meals for their families. A high percentage of were dependent on Holy Angels serving their children breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once the pandemic hit, they were only able to provide families with lunch sacks for the week. They knew that wouldn’t be enough.
“When we received the generous donation from Christ the King, we started providing 8 to 10 families a week with some essential items and food for breakfast and dinner,” Armitage said. “Since then, we’ve had other organizations and private citizens donate, and have written a grant to provide more funds to continue providing essential items to feed our families. After the first couple weeks we found we can provide one family with essential items and food for about $35 per week.”
The servant hearts of middle schoolers helping out those less fortunate during a time of need should be inspiring to all of us.
“The decision to split this money among our service sites was a no-brainer, enthusiastically approved by the School Board and Finance Council,” Father Steve said. “The kids were really proud that their work throughout the year could help their buddies at Holy Angels, even though they didn’t get to see them in person.”