By Nicholas Plante ’18
The true purpose of Thanksgiving Day is often overshadowed by football games, seemingly endless meals, and days off from school; however, it is on this day that Americans should give thanks to God and to each other for all they have.
The Chaminade Flyers recently exemplified the idea of giving through their Thanksgiving Basket Drive. From Monday, November 23 through Wednesday, November 25, all students were invited to bring toiletries, such as mouthwash, lotion, shampoo, and paper towels, to their homerooms and the Darby Auditorium lobby.
The project was sponsored by Emmaus and Junior GSO, moderated by Bro. Peter Heiskell, S.M. ’86 and Mr. Brian Anselmo ’89, respectively. All donations were collected to help the elderly at the Queen of Peace Residence in Queens Village, N.Y. This nursing home, which is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, opened its doors in February 1970 and currently fosters about 80 elderly residents who are without money, family, or other means of support.
Chaminade students have been visiting the residence for over 26 years, highlighting a special relationship that exists between the Marianist community and that of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Bro. Peter attributes this connection to the fact that both groups live lives marked by adherence to the Gospel and believe in the importance of providing service to those in need.
He noted that the “passion and faith the Little Sisters put into their mission of serving the elderly is similar to the energy that we put into educating young people in the faith.”
During the Thanksgiving Mass on Wednesday, representatives from each homeroom and members of the cross country team brought the many baskets of donated items to the altar. Several sisters and residents of the Queen of Peace Residence were present. At the end of the celebration, Sister Maria Catherine, who represented the Little Sisters of the Poor, thanked the student body for their efforts to support the needy. She insisted that what the school performed “a work of mercy” and commended everyone who donated for giving from their hearts.
After school, students from Emmaus and Junior GSO sorted the items that had been collected, and they packed two buses full of boxes. They delivered everything to the Queen of Peace Residence. Upon the students’ arrival, Sister Sheila expressed her joy by exclaiming, “I think what you young men do is wonderful! This really supplies us for the whole year, and it ties in perfectly with the Thanksgiving season.” The students spent some time arranging the donations and took a step back to reflect on what they had done.
Owen Harte ’16 said, “It was great seeing the smiles on the faces of the sisters and residents when they saw how many things the Chaminade community had donated.”
The Thanksgiving Basket Drive was definitely a success; it not only reminded students of the true meaning of Thanksgiving but also enabled them to lend a helping hand.