CC@S's junior high students enter a new world, where they learn first hand God's call to love and serve the poor.
“We are called to act with justice, to love tenderly, to serve one another, and to walk humbly with God.”
The Catholic Community's Junior High Group took those words from the prophet Micah to heart as they collected presents and served families through their Christmas Outreach Project at St. Justin's Parish in Santa Clara. The kids learned to get around their stereotypes of who was poor and why. They came to work and to serve, and in return were rewarded with new friends and grateful hearts.
St. Justin's Parish has one of the largest daily outreach ministries in the Diocese of San Jose. The weekend before Christmas people in need line up to “shop” for their children among donated gifts, books, and stuffed animals. Food for a holiday meal is provided and there is an opportunity to choose a holiday outfit from donated clothing. Our kids became helping angels as they wheeled carts around loading presents, gift wrapping, and transporting out to vehicles. Language barriers did not stop their generosity. Smiles and “thank you’s” flowed throughout the day. Eyes and hearts were opened up to see that people are so much alike, no matter their economic background; we are all children of God.
“A memorable thing was when one family I was helping was picking stocking stuffers. The couple only picked one per kid, when they were allowed to take three. When I asked if they wanted more, they said, ‘That's okay. We have enough. There are others who need it more than we do.’ That was really thoughtful that they were able to think of others before themselves, even in their situation.” —Keira C.
“You rarely see those less fortunate in your own communities in a context where you can actually interact. This Outreach project gives this opportunity and it’s valuable. Even though this situation was not something I often do, and it felt unusual, something was right with the world. What we were doing felt more natural than one would anticipate.” —Andrew P.
“When I went to St. Justin's church to deliver gifts to the people who couldn’t afford them, it was like entering a new world. So many people were there, and it was our job to help them all. I felt honored.” —Xavier R.