Eighth graders at Notre Dame Catholic School stepped up big this holiday season by extending the warmth of Jesus Christ to neighbors experiencing homelessness. When the school’s coat drive began last month, theology teacher Laura Gillette encouraged the students to connect with the Eucharistic Revival, a movement in the Catholic Church that is restoring the understanding of the living presence in the Eucharist.
After some brainstorming, they decided to collect coats for the shelters at Catholic Charities in Denver, to help them prepare for the cold weather approaching.
“When we talked about doing this as a class, we thought that it would be a unique way to participate in the Revival and deepen our connection with one another, and with the Eucharist. To know that we carry Jesus with us is a powerful thing. We have been teaching them about the Eucharistic Revival all year, so to find ways to apply that, is exciting for us.”
Keeping this notion in mind, the students rallied around their families to join them. The response received was overwhelming. Families and parishioners at Notre Dame worked together to fill an entire classroom with coats, warm clothing items and even non-perishable food items to live out the true presence of faith.
Once all the coats had been collected, the students worked together to sort and organize them, making sure that each coat found its way to the Samaritan House warehouse. They wrote notes of encouragement, letting the recipients know they were prayed for.
The class spent part of their school day loading up the Catholic Charities truck with boxes and watched as their hard work moved directly on to Samaritan House, to help their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Mark Hahn, director of volunteer and community engagement spoke to the class before he drove to the shelter’s warehouse. “If you can imagine, we have 100 to 150 people coming into our warehouse daily asking for help. This donation drive you put together will help people who come to us with a pair of sandals, shorts and a T-shirt on. This is what it’s all about.”