JUPITER | Parents, parishes and schools are always looking for ways to teach children the importance of helping others. But there’s nothing like teaching by example.
Nov. 20, for the third time in five years, individuals and families from St. Peter Parish and All Saints School packed meals for those in need, in cooperation with Cross Catholic Outreach. This time, they packed ingredients for 40,000 meals destined for hungry people in Guatemala or Haiti.
Becky Miklos, director of Children’s Ministries at the parish, said about 150 volunteers showed up to demonstrate or learn the value of reaching out to others.
“My focus is always on the families, having the children do something that’s giving, making them think about something other than their little lives,” she said. “And I think these kinds of experiences stay with them, so that when they become young adults, they’re not completely absorbed with themselves, their fashion, social media.”
Paola Vera, whose two sons, Sebastian and Benjamin, attend All Saints, participated with the boys to encourage them “to help others that are less fortunate than us. That is the main thing because they are super blessed. They need to learn why we are here.”
As the volunteers geared up to begin assembling the meals, Father Donald Finney, pastor of St. Peter, thanked God for his many blessings and allowing the workers to show their gratitude by helping the poor.
“We know that that is one of the spiritual works of mercy, ‘when I was hungry, you gave me to eat.’ So, we really are fulfilling an important part of our faith and being his disciples and sharing those blessings with others,” he said.
Father Finney prayed for the volunteers and blessed the food. “May they always give nourishment and be a blessing to those who receive them. May they (the recipients) know that they were packed with love.”
Jane Sheehan of Cross Catholic Outreach said each bag of food contained six meals, with a vitamin packet, rice, soy, beans and veggies. She gave the workers a quick lesson in the packing process.
“The volunteers, they kind of take over. We give them the materials and someone always steps up,” she said, adding that the boxes of meals would be transported to a warehouse in Miami, then shipped as soon as possible to Central America or the Caribbean.
Sheehan stressed the dire need among people who have food insecurities. “This is the only meal some people get for the entire day,” she said. “So, this is literally the difference between life and death for some children and adults.”
She was impressed that 150 workers came to help when there were three other volunteer events at the parish that day, including altar server training and a Thanksgiving food distribution.
Father Finney said the mission of the parish is to reach beyond borders to assist those in need. He said they also gave out food Nov. 17 in Pahokee.
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