‘10,000 Acts of Kindness’

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It's an ambitious goal. Christendom College students have launched a campaign - "10,000 Acts of Kindness" - that promises to deliver food, clothing and a Christian message to 10,000 poor and homeless people in Washington, Philadelphia and New York, plus internationally in Nicaragua, Peru, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. The effort is being organized by the school's mission trip program, led by philosophy professor Mike Brown.

Brown said that the school has a rich history of student involvement in mission work. Last year, 30 percent of the student body went on mission trips. Brown wants to step up the program by challenging the entire student body and the Christendom community to feed, clothe and evangelize 10,000 people.

In the 17 years the program has operated, more than 800 students, faculty and staff have traveled the world evangelizing and helping the poor.

The students have to pay their own way for these trips, so they hold raffles and other fundraising activities. They also ask their families for financial help. This year, they have a crowdfunding page at youcaring.com that has so far helped them raise nearly $16,000. The students are looking to raise $50,000 to purchase food and clothing plus pay for travel expenses.

In November, Christendom students will travel to Washington and Philadelphia on weekends to distribute food and clothing. This is a hands-on project, where students go to the streets to interact with people directly.

The students work with local faith-based groups to deliver food. In Washington, they will work with Christ in the City, a Catholic group that began in Denver.

The food and clothing are purchased locally. To lower expenses, students and faculty usually sleep in local church facilities.

Assistant Mission Coordinator Julie Cipriano said that Christendom students are known for their generosity.

"This is an exciting time," said Cipriano. "We hope that everyone rises up to the challenge and makes a difference like never before."

Brown said that the students who go on these trips receive more than they give.

"If you want to know Christ, go to the poor," said Brown.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015