Faith and Service in Action

It started as a project for the sophomore class at Owensboro Catholic High School.

And then, it kept growing.

Now, the entire Catholic school system is involved, and people outside the Catholic church are also helping.

Two weeks ago, teachers Aryn Dauby and Katie Pagan, OCHS sophomore class sponsors, challenged their students to help St. Alphonsus Liguori School in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana, recover from the devastating floods in the area around Baton Rouge last month.

The school itself was flooded, as were the homes of many of the students.

“The school and parish received over a foot of water in many places, and many of the families have been displaced because they did not have flood insurance since they were not in a flood zone,” Pagan said.

She said she talked to a teacher at St. Alphonsus about the needs.

“One family the teacher spoke about was that of a sixth-grader,” Pagan said. “Her dad is Bruce Simmons, who was one of the Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies who was shot in the ambush shooting July 17. His home was a total loss.”

She said the school needs books (from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade) as well as art supplies — markers, paints, paint brushes, glue, scissors, construction paper, crayons and colored pencils.

They can also use gift cards for stores and restaurants available in that area, Pagan said.

Restaurants include Olive Garden, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Subway, Chili’s, Cracker Barrel, Domino’s, Logan’s and McDonald’s.

Stores include Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Gap/Old Navy, Gymboree, Office Depot, Payless Shoes, PetSmart, Shoe Carnival, Target, Children’s Place, Wal-Mart/Sam’s, Academy Sports, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Dilliard’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Best Buy, Shell, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

And pharmacies include CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens.

Pagan said 400 books have already been collected along with a number of art supplies and gift cards.

“The school has requested that only these items be donated, as many families do not have a place to store items as they rebuild,” she said..

Pagan said the project is slowly gaining momentum.

Gift cards can be purchased in the Catholic schools’ SCRIP office or anywhere that gift cards are sold.

Donations can be dropped off at the OCS Central Office, Immaculate Parish Office or Independence Bank on Frederica Street.

Pagan said the deadline for making donations is Oct. 7.

Then, the items will be boxed up and driven to Baton Rogue.

But gift cards and cash donations will be accepted until Thanksgiving, Pagan said. (Messenger-Inquirer 2016)