Marist High School’s junior class participated in a day long service and team building program in honor of the Marist Brothers’ 200th anniversary. The students exceeded the day’s goal by packing 108,864 meals that will feed 298 children for an entire year. Marist-sponsored schools across the United States also completed community service as part of the Brothers’ National Marist Day of Service.
Marist Chicago’s juniors started the day together with a brief prayer service. They then split into two large groups of just over 200 students each. One group headed for the school’s main gym where the students packed more than 53,000 meals for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), a Christian non-profit organization called to feed starving children in body and spirit. The students measured and mixed nutrient and protein rich non-perishable meals that will eventually be sent to more than 80 countries around the world, many of which the Marist Brothers serve through a variety of ministries.
“The opportunity for our kids to gather together and realize they are not only a part of Marist Chicago but of the greater Marist world in the U.S. and across the globe is invaluable and goes to the core of our mission to serve the ‘least favored’,” explained Br. Hank Hammer, president of the school.
The second group of students gathered in the school’s Hynes Gym to participate in Champagnat Games, named after the founder of the Marist Brothers. These fun and exciting contests included musical chairs and relay races to help the students have fun and form better bonds. Both groups then gathered for lunch and then switched gyms and activities.
The cost of the food was covered by funds raised in October of 2016 when Marist Chicago campus minister Patrick Meyer ’10 spent 36 straight hours on a playground swing installed at the school. Donations poured in totaling more than $25,000, which made the day free for junior students. All Marist students were encouraged to donate canned food items the day of the event. Those items will be donated to St. Terrence food pantry in Alsip, Ill.
“The support that was shown during the fall was overwhelming, but seeing the outcome today and all of our students actually doing this service is the payoff in all of this,” Meyer explained.
Around the country other Marist schools participated in environmental clean ups, visited nursing homes, tutored grade school students, cleaned pet shelters and other events. All Marist students across the country finished the day with a prayer service and by voting for the service project they want the Brothers to fund to the tune of $200,000. These projects include helping refugees in Syria, Lebanon, and South Africa, rebuilding structures and schools in Congo and Guatemala, and providing access to education in Bangladesh, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Voting was closely split among the three causes and each will receive funding.
“This was a great day for Marist,” fellow campus minister Colleen Pochyly said after the event. “This was such a positive experience and a wonderful way for our junior class to really become leaders for next year.”
The Marist Brothers and schools have honored the anniversary with events and programming throughout the 2016-17 school year.