By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — More than 600 St. Ambrose University Fighting Bees — students, faculty, staff and coaches — spread out to surrounding neighborhoods Nov. 6 to serve their neighbors. “Bee the Difference Day” kicked off 30 days of intentional prayer and service.
The day began with Mass on campus in Christ the King Chapel. Volunteers checked in outside the Rogalski Center at noon to grab their SAU T-shirt and meet up with assigned team members and leaders and headed to their sites.
Students Sam Sampson and Ireland Stewart planned and directed the day. Sampson said prep work began in August when they sent letters to neighbors about the project and emailed past participating neighbors. The planners compiled a list of neighbors needing help with yard work and created a spreadsheet of sites and assignments. “Most were in walking distance,” Sampson said.
The day of the event, St. Ambrose University Chaplain Father Ross Epping gave an opening prayer about making a difference and being of service. Among the volunteers was St. Ambrose University President Amy Novak. “I am super excited to serve in the community,” she said as she welcomed volunteers to the event.
She encouraged everyone to continue to serve and to pray during Bee the Difference month. From Nov. 6 to Dec. 6, students, faculty and staff were to receive daily prayers to stimulate reflection and gratitude. A campus-wide celebration of the school’s patron saint, Saint Ambrose, will conclude the event Dec. 7. Lunch that day includes bread and honey — “go bees,” Novak said.
Cross-country team members Rylee McCrery, Jayne Eilderts, Kyleigh Foster and Kevin Chaney were among the volunteers. Chaney said he participated to make a difference for neighbors who needed help with their yard work. McCrery said it was a good time for team bonding as well as helping others. In addition to doing yard work, some students packed meals for Kids Against Hunger on Nov. 6.