Stewards Of The Month
Stewards of the Month: St. Bernard's Charitable KIDZ
About fifteen years ago, a parishioner of St. Bernard’s in Levittown graduated from the Pastoral Formation Institute of the Diocese. He approached Sister Christine Sammons, coordinator of Parish Social Ministry at St. Bernard’s about working with the elderly. During the conversation, Sister Christine invited him, Ted Blach, to explore the possibility of establishing a group of teenagers who might work alongside the parish’s Conference of St. Vincent de Paul. Ted agreed to consider the possibility! The parish invited a group of high school students to gather and see if they would like to work together to do community service, which is required for the reception of Confirmation and encouraged in the local high schools.
To identify themselves, this group of students came up with the name Charitable KIDZ. Ted and his wife Carol have gathered the KIDZ during the school year to do community service together, in Levittown and beyond. They have conducted twice-yearly food drives for their parish food pantry and yearly children’s coat drives. The KIDZ, and often their parents along with them, have joined the Vincentians in their yearly “Friends of the Poor Walk” to raise money for the local Conference to share with those in need in their neighborhood.
One of their most enjoyable events has been hosting the adults from Catholic Charities residences for adults with developmental disabilities. Early on, the adults came for a craft-making activity and dinner near Christmas, but because the adults had such a busy social life at that time of the year, the event was moved closer to Thanksgiving, which has worked out well for all!
The KIDZ even had the great fortune of participating in St. John’s University program called “Faith and Service in the City,” which is a week-long total immersion in situations of poverty in New York City. This has been a lifechanging experience for them!
Somewhere along the line, the KIDZ learned about the nationwide program called “The Souper Bowl of Caring,” which is held each Super Bowl Weekend. The KIDZ use this weekend to collect funds to support a variety of worthy causes both locally and world-wide! Locally, they have assisted Bethany House, the I.N.N. (which took them on a tour of the Mary Brennan Inn,) Hurricane Sandy Relief through Catholic Charities, and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch after their church fire.
The way the Souper Bowl works is that the KIDZ advertise in advance what their charity for the year will be, and the KIDZ bring soup pots with the Souper Bowl of Caring logo on them to each of St. Bernard’s Masses. The parishioners are invited to make a donation, promise to make a donation, or promise to pray for the success of the collection. On average, they have collected about $5,000 for each charity.
This Super Bowl weekend, the KIDZ collected donations for a local Lutheran church that suffered a fire on Christmas morning. The KIDZ collected for them, using envelopes they had printed for the occasion that donors can bring to church.
May God continue to bless these wonderful stewards. Please pray for Ted, Carol and St. Bernard’s Charitable KIDZ!
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