Ten members of the National Junior Honor Society chapter at St. Joseph School in Auburn recently spearheaded an effort that raised more than $2,000 for Rescue Mission, a Syracuse-based organization that provides meals, shelter and skills training for those in need.
In honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week — which was Nov. 16-22, 2008 — the honor-society members sponsored an effort called "Change for Change," said Kim Guinnip, honor-society adviser and bookkeeper at St. Alphonsus Parish in Auburn. Guinnip had the students research on their own time to find out how many people are dealing with hunger and homelessness in Cayuga County, New York state and the United States. They wrote papers and then put together presentations based on their findings and then distributed containers for their fellow students to use to collect loose change.
"They went around to each class and gave a presentation to every class before they sent home the containers," Guinnip said. "The money was important, but just as important as that was the awareness. There are kids just like you that don’t eat three meals a day or have a roof over their heads."
Guinnip and the students weren’t sure what kind of response they’d get since many people are already giving to other charitable organizations around Thanksgiving, she said, so they were shocked and thrilled to collect more than $2,000.
"It was overwhelming. We gathered everything and took it to the bank, and it was a lot of change," she said.
In January Guinnip hopes to take the honor-society members on a field trip to Rescue Mission to tour the facility and present their earnings to the organization.