Parishes collect supplies for needy - Catholic Courier

Parishes collect supplies for needy

Parishioners at Sacred Heart Parish in Auburn and St. Ann’s Parish in Owasco recently had the chance to help needy children receive an education.

Over the course of several weeks in April, St. Ann’s parishioner Anna Flanigan collected bags of school supplies to be sent to children in need. Members of both parishes were asked to drop off donations of scissors, pencils, erasers, crayons and other school supplies in a box in the back of each church.

In early May, Flanigan collected all the donated supplies and sorted them into kits. Each kit contained a manual pencil sharpener and six new pencils with erasers; a pair of blunt scissors; a large eraser; a box of 24 crayons; a 12-inch ruler; 12 sheets of colored construction paper; and pads or notebooks of ruled paper.

Before she collected the supplies, Flanigan created 12-by-14-inch bags out of a heavy, denim-like material. After collecting the supplies and assembling the kits, each kit was placed in one of the bags. Now the supplies are ready to be delivered to needy children, either in the United States or abroad.
Flanigan got the idea for the project from Church Women United of Cayuga County, of which she is a 10-year member. The women’s group – in conjunction with Church World Service, which has an office in Syracuse – has been collecting school supplies to form kits for several years.
Church World Service is a ministry that works with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries to meet human needs and foster self-reliance, according to its Web site,”Gift of the Heart” kits – such as the school kits Flanigan put together – are one of CWS’ ministries.

Besides the school kits, those wishing to help can also put together baby kits or health kits. A baby kit should include cloth diapers, shirts, washcloths, gowns or sleepers, diaper pins, receiving blankets, and a sweater or sweatshirt. The health kit should include a hand towel, washcloth, comb, toothbrush, bar of soap, nail file or clippers, tube of toothpaste and six Band-Aids.

Church Women United of Cayuga County has been working with CWS’ “Gift of the Heart” program for several years as one of its outreach ministries, according to the Rev. Betty Jones, president of the group.

Although Flanigan is a member of Church Women United, she had not taken part in “Gift of the Heart” until to this year. She decided to give it a try at Sacred Heart and St. Ann’s as a Lenten project, unsure of what the response would be.

“I just figured we haven’t done this before; I would like to see how it goes,” Flanigan said.

Parishioners appeared to be in favor of the project, donating enough school supplies to complete 24 kits. When she finished sorting all the supplies into kits, she even had pencils, crayons and construction paper left over.
“I didn’t expect it would go this far when I started it. I just figured if I got 12 I’d be doing good,” Flanigan said.

Flanigan said she plans to make the kits again next year, and will put the leftover supplies in them. If people continue to donate supplies, she’ll continue to put the kits together throughout the year.

And if others are interested, Flanigan said, she might gather together a group of people to work on creating health or baby kits as well.
“It’s a good project,” she said.

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