Religious-education students at St. Anthony’s Parish in Groton enjoyed two special meals during Thanksgiving break: turkey on Thursday and pizza on Sunday.
A pizza party and game day, which was to have been held Nov. 27 at the Tompkins County parish, served as the reward for a very successful charity drive in October. The youths made good on a deal that they would receive a party — courtesy of Father Scott Kubinski, pastor, and the parish social-ministry committee — if they collected at least 150 items to benefit the Samaritan Center in Ithaca.
In the end, they shattered that goal. According to Karen Brown, pastoral minister at St. Anthony’s, a total of 287 items were collected, with only 50 to 60 coming from general parish contributions and the rest coming from religious education. The program involves approximately 75 youths in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 under the directorship of Kathy Curry.
“It was just awesome. We were so thrilled,” Brown said of the effort.
In addition, a raffle — with prizes donated by parishioners and local businesses — netted $547 toward the purchase of more products for the Samaritan Center. The raffle took place Oct. 30 during a parish dish-to-pass supper and bonfire.
Brown explained that the requested items were products the Samaritan Center strives to provide that cannot be obtained with food stamps. Example are laundry soap, diapers, shampoo, dish soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine-hygiene products, bar soap, toilet paper, deodorant and baby wipes.
Brown noted that the Samaritan Center — an outreach of Catholic Charities that serves individuals and families in financial crisis — was very low on supplies at the time it started receiving goods from the St. Anthony’s drive.
Now St. Anthony’s is turning its attention to the Work of Human Hands Sale that began Nov. 19 and was set to run through early December. The sale, presented in conjunction with Catholic Relief Services, features high-quality, fairly traded handcrafts and gourmet food items from low-income producers all over the world.
Brown said St. Anthony’s did more than $2,300 of business at last year’s Work of Human Hands Sale. Also involved in the initiative this year are All Saints in Lansing and Holy Cross in Dryden, the two parishes that became clustered with St. Anthony’s this past June.