In a span of about three weeks, three massive hurricanes unleashed their fury on the U.S. mainland and islands in the Caribbean.
One after the other, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria wreaked destruction with tornadoes, floods, and winds so strong they bent and twisted an iron cross outside a Jesuit school in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In a demonstration of what charity is all about, people across the nation are trying to help in any way they can, including students in the Diocese of Charleston.
Debbie Wilfong, principal of St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach, said a group of fifth-grade girls, “upon their own initiative”, met with her to get permission for a bake sale. They set a date, created posters to advertise the event, and assigned jobs to all the fifth-graders.
They even tapped Father Roger Morgan for baking duties, which he accepted.
St. Andrew’s volleyball team also joined the outreach, deciding to donate all proceeds from their weekly bake sales to hurricane victims.
Wilfong praised the students “for being altruistic, and being examples of service beyond self,” adding that the kids also made cards for children in the disaster areas.
Other schools are participating in the “Student to Student” campaign run by the National Catholic Educational Association. Some of those schools include St. Peter in Columbia, Divine Redeemer in Hanahan, and St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton.
The NCEA will distribute 100 percent of funds collected to dioceses in affected areas for their school communities, said Kathy Preston, principal of St. Peter.
One of the most popular ways for schools to raise money is to let students ditch their uniforms for a day, in exchange for cash.
St. Mary’s Student Council in Greenville sponsored a casual dress day and collected more than $900. Students at St. John Neumann in Columbia paid $1 for each non-uniform item they wanted to wear and raised $1,800.
At Prince of Peace in Taylors, students created and sold T-shirts plus held a dress-down day. Meanwhile, at Holy Trinity in Longs, a collection was held at Mass and students are planning a car wash for Oct. 14.
In addition to fundraisers, children are also praying for everyone, and sending letters and cards.
“Students are expressing their concern and letting the children [in storm areas] know they are praying for them,” said Patti Lanthier, principal of St. Paul the Apostle in Spartanburg.
Chris Trott, principal of St. Gregory, said they are also writing to the seminarians based in Houston.