By Anne Marie Amacher and Barb Arland-Fye
Students from throughout the Diocese of Davenport have been collecting money for relief support for Haitians affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake. Here is a round-up of some fundraising efforts from Catholic schools in the diocese:
Students and staff at All Saints Catholic School in Davenport cumulatively walked 100 miles for Haiti on Feb. 3 in loops around the upstairs and downstairs hallways and in the gym. The walk — in addition to money collected in jars in classrooms — raised $3,000 for the people of Haiti. All Saints Technology Director Amy Kersten, who came up with the idea for the walk, was thrilled with the results. “We have a really good school community. They support what we do and they know it’s all for a very good cause,” she said. “We can’t fly to Haiti to be on hand to help the victims of the earthquake, but we can show them and others in our community that we are thinking of them, praying for them and actively trying to help them.”
The intention was to have children walk outside, but cold weather moved the activity indoors. “It’s for a good cause and it’s good exercise for us and the kindergarteners,” said Jordan Miller, an eighth-grader, who like other eighth-graders, walked a number of laps around the gym with their kindergarten buddies. All Saints Principal Cheryl Lafferty thought the walk was a great idea and it fit in well with Catholic Schools Week activities. “I’m so proud of our staff. Somebody always has an idea to teach the kids compassion,” she said. Money raised from the walk will go toward Catholic Relief Services and ServeHAITI.
Students at Regina Junior/Senior High School in Iowa City raised $2,732 in one day, following a Jan. 19 prayer service for Haiti. Principal David Krummel said the day began with a “teaching Mass” led by four of the area’s parish priests. “Immediately after the teaching Mass, students assembled in the gym for a prayer service for Haiti. Coach John DeMarco opened the service with a short story about visiting the poor island of Haiti.
“After prayer and a video clip of the devastation left from the earthquake, a short skit was presented.” The skit highlighted all the items that cost $2 — everything from a bottle of pop to a tank of gas. Kathy McCue, campus minister, challenged students to contribute $2 each to help Haiti.
Often when fundraisers are held, jeans days are offered as an incentive. This time, McCue said there would be no reward. The effort would be for everyone to share their treasure because it was the right thing to do. The prayer service ended with a poem written by Mother Teresa. “Regina blew their goal of $1,000 in a day out of the water, nearly tripling their goal,” Krummel said. “Regina never backs away from a challenge,” McCue said. “But what impressed me most was that the students gave from their heart, without a reward or incentive.
Activities at Assumption High School in Davenport encompassed prayer, compassion, generosity and fun. Students prepared as well as served a meal and cleaned up afterward at Café on Vine during Catholic Schools Week. While at the café they also helped unload a truck full of food items, said Dan Huber, teacher and spiritual director at Assumption. “We also had our collection for the people of Haiti throughout the week,” Huber said. The students raised about $1,600 for the earthquake victims through a variety of activities, including an event in which people were invited to make half-court shots during a basketball game at Assumption. They supplemented their almsgiving with a prayer service on Feb. 2 in solidarity with the people of Haiti. Assumption also conducted a blood drive, donating a total of 70 pints, Huber said. Among the entertaining activities the students enjoyed was a performance by ComedySportz, and competitive games of Bingo.
Notre Dame Elementary in Burlington allowed students to pay $1 per day to wear jeans from Jan. 19-22. “We raised $1,041 over those four days,” said Principal Bob Carr. “We are also going to have a coin collection with the class collecting the most weight in coins earning a prize.”
Notre Dame Junior/Senior High School Principal Ron Glasgow said more than $1,400 from grades 6-12 had been raised. On Feb. 10, a K-12 jean day with the theme “For the Love of Haiti” was scheduled for Notre Dame schools.
At St. James Catholic School in Washington, a Kids Against Hunger (KAH) packaging event was held Feb. 3. “We have been raising money through Penny Wars, Gum and Hat Days, a Hawkeye v. Cyclone Hat War, and a Skate Party,” said Principal Brad Thiel. The KAH and other events raised about $1,100. All together, with parish and community support, $9,000 was raised for Haiti. “We are also collaborating with a local church by collecting care-type packages of towels, soaps, etc.,” he said.
Keokuk Catholic School took up a collection after a school Mass and collected $214.45, said Principal Laurie Mendenhall. The school collected “Change for Haiti” during Catholic Schools Week.
Karen Witt, development director at Prince of Peace Catholic schools in Clinton, said the student council was planning several events. A jeans day will be held later this month. In the days leading up to jeans day, information will be shared about the Haiti tragedy and other ways in which students can make sacrifices and donate to the cause. “Instead of buying an extra sandwich at lunch, they could contribute to the fundraiser.”