Service isn’t something that happens only during the holiday seasons at St. Mary’s High School. But holiday service projects do hold a special place in the hearts of our community. This year students and advisers were thrilled to be able to give back in concrete ways after a year of restrictions due to the pandemic.
The holiday giving started in November at St. Mary’s when the National Honor Society sponsored a food drive. Despite the drive being shortened due to an online learning week, the drive yielded 700 pounds of food in just two days. The food was donated to Care and Share. Senior Jacob Limb, co-president of NHS, said the group decided to do the drive after hearing that local food banks were short on supplies this year.
“It felt good to do something to contribute to our school’s post-COVID recovery,” Limb said. “The idea of giving back is important and it’s nice to show we care in a tangible way.”
The school’s Students for Life club was also back in action this fall, performing a variety of service-oriented activities for those in the Colorado Springs community. On Friday, Dec. 10, the club shared some Christmas joy with those living at the Sunny Vista Senior Living Center, which is located in the backyard of St. Mary’s campus. The club members invited all of the student body to join them in a Christmas carol sing-along at the center, which is an activity the club did annually pre-pandemic.
In addition to caroling, the Students for Life members have cooked and served meals this year at Catholic Charities’ Marian House and donated time to help fundraise for the new Mater Filius maternity home that will be built in Colorado Springs next year.
“In keeping with our mission to promote the sanctity of all life from conception until natural death, the Students for Life club has been busy throughout the holiday season ministering to others in the community,” said Mary Simmons, parent sponsor of the club. “We feel especially blessed to be able to bring the peace, love, and joy of the incarnate Christ to others in our community during the holiday season.”
While it has been nice for students to be able to resume in-person service projects, not all service-related activities have been able to return. The long-time tradition of sponsoring a Giving Tree for the residents of Sunny Vista wasn’t possible this year due to COVID restrictions at the nursing home. But NHS sponsor Jeanne Cichon said that she hopes the Giving Tree will return next year with the same incredible support that the St. Mary’s community has shown for the project in the past.
Simmons said that the Students for Life club will continue its pro-life service projects throughout the school year. In January, the SMHS Students for Life will once again host the local Rocky Mountain March and Mass for Life with Bishop Golka and will also hold their annual spring drive to collect baby items for moms in need. Limb said that NHS is currently looking at more ways to give back as the year progresses. Next up for NHS will be a coat, hat, and glove drive in January to benefit local homeless veterans.
By Amy G. Partain
Director of Communications
St. Mary’s High School