Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans is inviting all Catholic schools to participate in the “Show Your Heart Day” fund-raiser on Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day – or near that date.
Students at archdiocesan schools are asked to donate at least $1 for Catholic Charities’ annual appeal. For that $1, students can wear their favorite red shirt for one day. Red denotes the color of Valentine’s Day, and Catholic Charities said the heart of its mission is “to lovingly serve the most vulnerable and needy in our communities.”
This idea for schools to get involved in the campaign surfaced in 2013. The archdiocese’s North Shore Region satellite office director Craig Marinello and associate director Stephanie Dupepe, who oversee Catholic Charities’ parish appeals on the northshore, were exploring ideas to get schools involved in helping Catholic Charities.
“We wanted to bring the kids into a better awareness and understanding of what Catholic Charities does, so we thought about a fund-raiser,” Dupepe said.
Dupepe was a room mom last year to a pre-kindergarten student at Mary Queen of Peace School in Mandeville and decided to start there. She approached the parish pastor, Father Ronald Calkins, and principal Sybil Skanski about the idea to connect with children, and the fund-raiser was put in motion.
The school determined a date and how it would collect the money (either in homeroom or at the school’s entrance), and Dupepe created a flyer that was placed in the school newsletter so parents would be informed. Approximately 350 students participated, raising $350 in one day.
Its simple success led Catholic Charities and the Office of Catholic Schools to collaborate this year by asking all archdiocesan schools to participate.
This year’s effort included packets being sent directly to all Catholic schools. The packets included flyers, suggested announcements for bulletins, facts on Catholic Charities’ work, tips and a return envelope to mail donations to Catholic Charities.
“We are grateful to the Office of Catholic Schools for their support in helping us launch this initiative in our schools and for the positive response to participate from several of our schools,” said Marianite Sister Marjorie Hebert, executive officer of Catholic Charities. “In this small way and in a fun way, we hope ‘Show Your Heart Day’ will help foster a sense of giving and generosity in our children that they will carry with them throughout their lives. We also hope students know that any amount of generosity or act of kindness, no matter how small, makes a difference and ‘shows their heart’ to a neighbor in need.”
If a school can’t participate on Feb. 14, another day can be selected. Every dollar through “Show Your Heart” Day helps Catholic Charities respond quickly to areas of greatest need during times of crisis, especially in the wake of hurricanes and other unforeseen disasters and emergencies.
For more information, call 310-6865.