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Catholic Schools Week service project assists the needy — one shoebox at a time

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Students of St. Luke School in McLean participated in a day of service Jan. 28 by filling shoeboxes with toiletries for those in need.

“It makes me proud that our school is willing to help out other people,” said eighth-grader Charlie Williams, who guided his prayer buddy, John Berik, a kindergartener, to the various tables in the school gym loaded with toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and other items. Older students serve as mentors to the younger ones throughout the year.

For Katie Lagos, assistant principal, that was the teaching moment she was hoping for.

“St. Luke helps to develop the whole child, not just academically, but cultivates students to have a heart and support people who don’t have everything,” Lagos said. 

Volunteers for Share, a McLean-based food pantry and family assistance program that helps those struggling to make ends meet, will distribute the 194 shoeboxes — one from each student — to their clients in the coming weeks. 

“We believe by helping families meet their basic needs, they will be better able to focus on their work, school and family members, and thus improve their chances of ending the cycle of poverty,” said Chris Burns, a Share volunteer.

A highlight for Burns during the day of service was seeing the joy of each student.

“Seeing their smiling faces and witnessing their joy of being able to give back to their neighbors in need is just awesome,” Burns said.

Parents participated as well. Christine Blaney, the mother of three St. Luke students — Daniel, a preschooler; Connor, a kindergartener; and Colleen a third grader — chose to volunteer, guiding students to take the correct amount of items.

 “As a family, we’re thrilled to be able to help others, and I wanted to be here to witness this day of service,” Blaney said.

At the conclusion, students unfurled a banner with the school’s mission statement, H.E.A.R.T., which stands for Honesty, Empathy, Achievement, Respect and Trust in God.



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019