By Emmanuel Murphy, Catholic Charities Intern
Even though studies in classrooms were suspended this spring because of the COVID-19 crisis, four Catholic high schools continued their commitment to serve the community. A recipient of their service efforts was Catholic Charities.
Maryland schools — Connelly School of the Holy Child, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Elizabeth Seton High School and Bishop McNamara High School — embarked in early June on a service project called the Serve Together donation drive.
The joint service project mustered support from families across Maryland and targeted as their recipients vital social-service programs. Donated items were picked up, packaged in boxes and bags, and loaded into trunks and vans.
On the receiving end were Catholic Charities’ Spanish Catholic Center in northwest Washington, D.C., the Catholic Charities Center in Silver Spring, Md., and the Sanctuaries for Life, a pregnancy support program in Silver Spring. There, the donated items will benefit hundreds of people in need.
The programs received in-demand items such as shelf-stable food, infant supplies and cleaning products. Rice, canned protein and cereal, among other items, were delivered to the food pantries at the Spanish Catholic Center and Catholic Charities Center. Diapers, baby shampoo and infant bottles were among the things given to Sanctuaries for Life.
The collaborative nature of Serve Together befitted the schools’ traditions and values. At Our Lady of Good Counsel “a commitment to service” is a common attribute among graduates. At Holy Child, the motto is “actions not words.” Elizabeth Seton emphasizes “going beyond comfort zones to assist others,” and Bishop McNamara connects service to values so students can “see the face of Christ in the strangers to whom they show compassion.”
It was a perfect moment to serve together. Through uniting their communities in a common purpose, the high schools found an antidote to the isolation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. And in doing so, the students took on leadership roles and the schools collaborated with each other to produce an impact greater than individual schools could generate alone.