Catholic students across the Diocese of Rochester’s 18-school network celebrated Christmas by putting their values of service and community into practice, and donating time and resources to local nonprofits.
Seton Catholic School in Rochester hosted a toy and clothing drive in December to benefit Volunteers of America. The VOA supports more than 6,000 people annually through early childhood and academic programs for youth, housing and support services for homeless individuals and families, and life skills services and training.
Seton students gave back by spreading the word about what is needed, and collecting and donating items such as toothbrushes, socks, coats, winter gloves and hats, and toys for families who enter the VOA homeless shelter.
On St. Nicholas Day, each student from St. Kateri School in Irondequoit brought items to participate in a Christian tradition celebrating the patron saint of children.
Traditionally, children would leave their shoes out overnight for St. Nicholas to fill with small gifts and treats. At St. Kateri School, students placed items in their shoes for St. Nicholas, played by Paul English, to collect during his visit to spread the message of service to those in need.
All items donated by St. Kateri students and faculty will benefit Morning Star, a foster care home run by the Sisters of St. Joseph to support children with physical or emotional needs.
“Our St. Kateri School community collected eight boxes of items to donate to the children of Morning Star,” Principal Terri Morgan said. “Encouraging the students to bring in baby items as part of a service project connects the students to their learning within the classroom as we learn about the birth of baby Jesus at this time of year.”
In Webster, St. Rita School students collected new and gently used clothing, games and toys to benefit the Rochester Early Childhood Education Center. The Education Center is a full-day program for ages 3-4 focusing on language, self-esteem and independence development.
“Our St. Rita School families donated over 50 bags of new and gently used clothing, winter gear, toys, puzzles and stuffed animals,” Principal Mary Ellen Wagner said. “Many of the Education Center’s families are homeless. One of our school’s parents is the director of this Rochester City School District school, and we feel blessed to be able to assist families who are in need of clothing and toys.”