Every year, Notre Dame High School conducts an Annual Day of Service. This activity falls at the end of the school’s 26 Acts of Kindness Campaign which honors those students and teachers lost during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. During this day of giving back to the community, approximately 400 Notre Dame Students volunteer at organizations throughout the Diocese.
This year, Catholic Charities of Fairfield County contacted Jessica Medoff, the teacher who coordinates the event, to offer opportunities for students to volunteer within their programs. Students from Notre Dame volunteered at four agency programs throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport: The Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport, New Covenant Center in Stamford, Morning Glory Breakfast Program in Danbury, and Room to Grow Preschool in Norwalk.
At the Thomas Merton Center, students were outfitted with aprons and helped out in the EatSmart Marketplace food pantry and the soup kitchen. Carts were unloaded and shelves were stocked with food and produce that were just delivered to the Merton Center that morning to prepare for clients who would shop that afternoon for their families. In the soup kitchen, cans were opened, lettuce was chopped and pies were cut to prepare lunch for the day. They students then took their places behind the counter and served the meal to the hungry guests.
A similar scene was taking place at the New Covenant Center food pantry in Stamford, where about 10 students were working hard to help unload an abundance of groceries and stock the shelves of the brand new food pantry. There is a different type of pantry at the Morning Glory Breakfast Program in Danbury. The Morning Glory Marketplace is a mobile non-food pantry that provides items such as cleaning products, paper goods, and hygiene products. Four students from Notre Dame helped unpack a large donation that was recently delivered for the Morning Glory Marketplace. They sorted the items and stocked the shelves for the program to be ready when it opened the following Friday.
Room to Grow Preschool in Norwalk is always a fun place to visit. The children were excited to have seven student volunteers come and visit. The Notre Dame students were divided between two classrooms where they assisted in leading the activities of the day. Games were played, stories were read, and snacks were served. They even helped to facilitate the morning craft project and taught some of the kids a few soccer skills. The preschoolers enjoyed having their older buddies around and asked for them to come back and visit.
“Notre Dame’s Annual Day of Service provides a great opportunity for students to see the different volunteer opportunities available in their communities. It is a great way for these kids to get involved and make a difference. Catholic Charities felt it was important to join in and share our mission. This collaboration was a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Al Barber, president of Catholic Charities.
By AMY ZAJAC