St. Edmund Preparatory High School students have worked during the past school year to help alleviate a problem that exists both locally and globally. The students, along with Kevin Raphael, assistant principal of student affairs, decided on the Hunger Awareness Challenge because the issue of hunger was so compelling to them.
The more research they did, the more energized they became to help in some way. They decided to raise awareness of the problem, first in school and then in the community.
A volunteer from a local food pantry came to the school to address the students. They learned that many families right in their own neighborhood face hunger. The students learned about disturbing global statistics as well.
After hearing the statistics, the school took action. Once every eight school days, the students decorated the cafeteria with statistical reminders of those who are not as fortunate. On that day, everyone was challenged to walk in the shoes of those less fortunate and restrict their spending for food and other non-travel expenses to $2 (the World Bank’s definition of moderate poverty) and make a donation to the yearlong project.
The students then reached out to Father Peter Rayder, pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish in Breezy Point, N.Y. Father Rayder allowed the students to talk to his parishioners about the hunger project, and many people donated money to the cause.
To date, the St. Edmund Prep community has raised over $12,000 with the help of the parishioners of Blessed Trinity. Some of the money will be given to needy families in Brooklyn and Queens. The balance of the money will be distributed in Havana, Cuba to needy families or a daycare center.
The school is planning a trip to Cuba in September of 2016 so that the students can personally deliver the money. While in Cuba, students will tour the city and various Catholic churches. They will attend Mass and are making plans to meet the new archbishop. They will also spend several days working with children at a daycare center. Fundacion Amistad, a humanitarian aid group, is assisting with the arrangements.