Students came together to ‘serve the dear neighbor’ through the West Side Catholic Center's Moriah House.
The nonprofit accepts female veterans and families who are homeless or have resided in substandard living conditions. These families are challenged with issues of economic hardship, physical and emotional trauma, chemical dependency, mental illness, physical illness, lack of education, or lack of employment. Members of the Class of 2022 (Mallory Palagyi, Ella Maher and Margaret Maline) led their peers in the creation of these baskets, designed to bring joy to these families.
"Our main thought when deciding to pursue this service project was to provide a sense of normalcy and hope in the midst of this unprecedented time. During the pandemic, we have all noticed how hard COVID-19 has impacted us but having something to look forward to has made coping with it much easier. We can't imagine how much more challenging it is for those less fortunate than us to deal with the pandemic, so we found it incredibly important to bring a sense of joy and something for the girls to look forward to. We especially wanted to give back to girls closer to our age, from ages 9-17, to reflect the generosity given by donors to us as high schoolers at Saint Joseph Academy, and how much something so simple impacts our lives each day. Although this gift to them won't impact them every day, it still is a way to show them that people care about them and they deserve to enjoy the holiday despite whatever circumstances they are facing," shared Mallory Palagyi '22.
"In a normal year, service brings about new relationships and connects you to the community whom you are serving. With this project, however, we weren't able to physically meet the recipients, so the impact was a little bit different. While we still connected with the community of girls we were serving, it was unique in that it helped us recognize the sincerity in service and it was a much more humbling experience. In sharing the grace of God, we recognized that there was no reward, yet we were elated with the thought that we would be able to brighten up young girls' Easter holiday," voiced Ella Maher '22.
"With the overwhelming support from the SJA community with their generous donations, which lead to the success of the project, we hope to open a gateway to similar service projects. We would love to do this project again next year for Easter 2022 and hopefully do something similar for Christmas 2021. We hope that through seeing our experience, students will understand that although the task may seem overwhelming and daunting, our community will unite together and support fostering new relationships. Projects like these still offer the same feeling of satisfaction and joy of brightening the lives of others while connecting with the community," stated Margaret Maline '22.