Little hands offer big help to others
Xavier Ordonez, Andrew Rodriguez, Samantha Ledesma, Madden Arroyo-Belleci and Cassydee Guinto were among the pupils at St. Peter Martyr School in Pittsburg who participated in a Thanksgiving Food Drive to help needy families at St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish in Antioch.
Doing good during the holidays
New socks collected
Michael Sahlman's fourth-graders at St. Philip Neri School in Alameda heeded St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County's call for needed socks. The pupils stood up at Mass and asked their community to donate, specifying they did not want dirty, yucky socks but nice new ones. Julia Catania, SVdP's administration manager, visited the school to collect an impressive donation of 1,287 pairs of socks and shared her memorable experience: "Twenty-eight children gathered with Father Robert Chinnapan on the playground after their regular morning schoolwide assembly and I thanked them and gave them all personal certificates which proclaim they are now 'Vinnies.'"
Carrying on a tradition
The lacrosse teams at De La Salle High School in Concord carried on a tradition of giving, helping 800 hungry residents of Concord and Pittsburg to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. This year, the lacrosse teams raised $3,292, purchasing 150 turkeys, and joined volunteers at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Concord in distributing the turkeys and other food to families. They also contributed to the Thanksgiving feast at the St. Vincent de Paul Free Dining Room in Pittsburg. Over the past eight years, the support from the De La Salle lacrosse community has provided more than $24,000 and 1,440 volunteer hours.
Dinner feeds 275
At St. Raymond Parish in Dublin, 275 people sat down to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the sixth annual Tri-Valley Community Outreach Thanksgiving Dinner. "Over the three-day period, we had 240 volunteers set the tables, decorate the hall, prepare the food, bake pies and pumpkin breads, provide light musical entertainment, greet, seat and serve, as well as clean up," said volunteer Matt Troiano. Whole families from the Tri-Valley were a large part of the volunteer base, he said, with several families making this event part of their Thanksgiving tradition.
The leftover food was given to Bob and Donna McKenzie, who run the Livermore Homeless Refuge.
Making new dresses
The Dress A Girl Around the World Bay Area group had a busy run-up to the Christmas season. Suzanne Beck, who serves as the group's ambassador, reports that Cross Catholic Outreach, a Catholic missions group, asked the group for a donation of dresses for its Box of Joy program. "Last year, we gave them 300 dresses and they were asking for more this year," she said. "We took a leap of faith and delivered them 412, along with about 100 pioneer dolls." The gifts were picked up at Church of the Assumption Parish in San Leandro, and sent by truck to Miami. But the dressmakers' work was not done. The Operation Christmas Child national team picked up 937 dresses, plus 300 pioneer dolls, just days later. The 2017 dress total by mid-November: 4,000. The next Sew-Fest is Jan. 27, 2018, at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Livermore. Information: www.DressAGirlSFBayArea.com.
Dinners for seniors
The fourth- and fifth-grade faith formation students at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Livermore put their faith in action by serving an early Thanksgiving dinner to 80 seniors. The pupils' parents cooked the dinner. Students sat at the tables with their senior guests, making sure their needs were met. They engaged in conversation, and enjoyed Bingo and music during the event.
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