Each year, Catholic Central students complete community service hours through the Campus Ministry Program, the heart of Catholic Central’s mission as it seeks to provide students with opportunities to nourish and grow in their faith. Members of the senior class have the opportunity to attend CC’s senior service retreat at Focus: HOPE, an organization located in Detroit dedicated to overcoming racism, poverty, and injustice. This year, 40 seniors attended the service retreat on two occasions with the goal of serving the elderly citizens of Detroit.
In early March, seniors met at Focus: HOPE with one thing on their mind – to help those in need. Their dedication led them to break the organization’s record for the most food boxes packed by a volunteer group. The students filled up 30 pallets, which equates to 1,650 boxes of food and lives impacted. The boxes will specifically help senior citizens on a fixed income making less than $17,000 annually.
"Focus: HOPE cannot thank Catholic Central's students enough for their spirited involvement in our Food for Seniors program," said Volunteer Coordinator Amber Kainz. "We are grateful for the time and effort contributed by Catholic Central's students and faculty leadership. It has been a pleasure to work with Kevin Walters and we hope our relationship continues well into the future."
Catholic Central's relationship with Focus: HOPE dates back to October 2015, translating to over 930 student volunteers, over 25,000 food boxes packed, and 2,793 hours of service valued at $56,167.23 ($20.11 - dollar value of volunteers per hour), according to Focus: HOPE.
“Our students feel tremendously proud of the work they do, as they know about the excellent work that Focus: Hope does on behalf of the greater southeastern Michigan community, and more importantly, the difference that it makes in the lives of those who receive these food boxes,” said Mr. Kevin Walters, campus minister and theology department head. “My job is to help sensitize the students to the impact they can make upon the lives of other people. We have young men who are tremendously driven by competition. I make use of that competitive nature to instill a desire to perform this task with love and expediency.”
After completing their mission, the students returned to school to discuss why there are disadvantaged people and were reminded that they are the next generation of businesspersons, health care professionals, politicians, and educators. Walters urges students to ask themselves, what can they do now and in the future to close this gap.
“As a school community, we witness the Word of God by putting our faith into action. Our hope is to promote service-learning that is transformative for the student, emphasizing quality of service and reflection,” said Walters.
The mission is working, as students look forward to completing their service hours and often go on to volunteer on their own terms. Alexander Mansur ’22 reflected on his experience this year, breaking the record, and contributing to the lives of others:
“This experience helped me realize that going out of your way and doing something so small can have such a big impact on so many people's lives,” said Mansur. “Contributing time to doing something good to support the community is always a good feeling especially knowing that the time and effort that you put in has a positive impact in society. Being able to take some time and help others while having fun with friends is something I look forward to doing in the future.”