Giving Out of Gratitude: Chaminade Holds Annual Thanksgiving Basket Drive

The student body was joined by the Little Sisters of the Poor and college-aged alumni for Mass.

WBy Nicholas Plante ’18

We who constitute the Chaminade family have received countless blessings from our Heavenly Father.  As members of such a fortunate community, we all have many reasons to give thanks to God.  One of the most profound ways in which we can express this gratitude is through serving Him by helping others.  In a famous line from the Gospel of Matthew (25:40), Christ teaches, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  When we devote ourselves to helping those in need, we both acknowledge the gifts we have been given and glorify the source from which they came.

Every Thanksgiving, a special emphasis is put on the importance of service here at Chaminade.  This year’s Thanksgiving Basket Project ran from Monday, November 21 through Wednesday, November 23.  All students were encouraged to fill baskets in their homerooms and the Darby Auditorium lobby with toiletries such as mouthwash, hand cream, lotion, shampoo, and toothpaste.  These goods were collected by members of Emmaus and Junior GSO to benefit the residents living at the Queen of Peace Residence in Queens Village.

Nicholas Milano ’17 places a basket filled with toiletries on the altar prior to Communion.
Nicholas Milano ’17 places a basket filled with toiletries on the altar prior to Communion.

On Wednesday, Srs. Maria Catherine and Gabrielle, L.S.P., three residents from the nursing home, and many college-age graduates of Chaminade gathered with the student body to celebrate Mass.  The celebration was led by Fr. Joseph Davanzo, the pastor of Christ the King in Commack.  Those who made up the congregation were united by their faith and expressed great appreciation for all God has provided for them.  Representatives from each homeroom and members of the cross country team carried the baskets of donations to the altar following Fr. Joe’s homily.  At the end of the Mass, Sr. Maria Catherine thanked everyone for their generous donations on behalf of the Little Sisters, pointing out that “these small gifts help us a great deal.”

Alongside those from Kellenberg Memorial High School who participated in a similar project, over 30 volunteers from Emmaus and GSO brought the donations to the nursing home on Wednesday afternoon.  Mr. Brian Anselmo ’89, the moderator of GSO, showed great satisfaction in the result.

“This is always a perfect way to demonstrate our thankfulness for all that we have while also showing those at Queen of Peace how much we care,” said Mr. Anselmo.

 Over the years, the Marianists of Chaminade and Kellenberg have established a special connection with the Little Sisters of the Poor, the religious organization that runs the nursing home.  This relationship is due, in part, to the complementary nature of the two orders.  While the Marianists are dedicated to the mental, physical, and spiritual education of young men and women, the Little Sisters offer their hospitality to the impoverished elderly.  For over two decades, students from both Marianist institutions have taken time out to visit the elderly and to contribute some assistance to the nuns who live and work there, as they rely on the generosity of others to obtain what they need to carry out their mission.

Mr. Daniel Haslbauer ’11, the moderator of Emmaus, explained, “As members of the Marianist community, we should allow our faith to be the driving force behind the desire to give.”

Many of the residents at Queen of Peace do not have regular visitors or are in need of certain items, so students can assist the Little Sisters in their mission of hospitality while completing a corporal work of mercy in the process.

Christopher Antoniello ’18, a member of GSO, reflected on his participation in the drive, saying, “It feels amazing to give to those who are in need, and I am humbled to be involved in such a great cause.”

Chris’s sentiment is one that is shared by all who participated in the annual Thanksgiving Basket Project.  By serving the poor, these students were able to give back to God for all He has given to them, a true reflection of the spirit of Thanksgiving.