Projects will aid those in need overseas and in diocese

Categories: Around the Diocese

Projects will aid those in need overseas and in diocese

By Nikki Rajala
The Visitor

potUsing blankets, bracelets and a baby shower, three groups — two schools and a pair of parishes — will grow their 2015 “Pay it Forward for Lent” seed grants. Their increased funds will assist people in need in Venezuela and Kenya and a pro-life pregnancy resource center in Sauk Centre.

This is the seventh year The Visitor has sponsored the Pay it Forward initiative.

As in past years, two anonymous — and very generous — donors increased our coffers, jump-starting Pay it Forward, so the projects will receive $200 each. Both donors have appreciated how teams across the diocese have creatively generated money for charities in the past.

In a note accompanying a check, one donor wrote, “We hope this year is as successful as previous years.”

The final story about the projects’ successes, completed during the 40 days of Lent, will appear in The Visitor’s March 27 edition.

Bid on blankets

To raise funds for our sister Diocese of Maracay, Venezuela, students at St. John’s Area School in Foley will create eight unique fleece blankets. They will display the blankets at the school’s Signature Soup Fest, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 22, and make them available for bidding in the silent auction.
Principal Christine Friederichs said each class, pre-kindergarten through grade 6, will tie a blanket. “Some will be singles, others double. They will have a variety of themes, like baby or sports. So that people have a little more to bid on, we’ll present them in attractive ways, like adding ‘popcorn and a movie’ to one.”

Students will tie the blankets during prayer time, either praying the rosary or hearing it, Friederichs said. She hopes they can tie on Ash Wednesday. The school is not certain for which program in Maracay their funds will be used.

“In Maracay,” Friederichs said, “the poor are very poor. A priority for us would fund education needs, because education is expensive and it’s not easy for parents to send their children to school.

“Or our funds may go to food, or water or shelter projects — we’ll research the needs.”

Sponsor friendship bracelets

Holy Family School in Sauk Centre will make 800 friendship bracelets — one for each student at their sister school, St. Joseph’s Ombo School in Migori, Kenya. Older and younger students will pair up to make bracelets, adding tags to identify Holy Family.

“Rubber band bracelets are bright, fun for their kids to have, fun to make,” said Ginny Thomas, the school’s technology coordinator. “Giving something we have made is a wonderful feeling.”

The two schools are strongly connected, Thomas said. “We started corresponding in 2003. We’ve sent school supplies, and we pray for them frequently.”

Migori is in the Diocese of Homa Bay, with which the St. Cloud Diocese maintains a solidarity partnership.

Using an envelope sent to each school and parish family, they will describe the project and request prayers and donations to sponsor the students in Kenya.

“Delegations from Kenya have so influenced our students,” Thomas said. “They teach us songs. They bring special clothing so our children can dance in Mass processions. They visit our classrooms and eat lunch with us.”

When the next delegation from the diocese travels to Kenya, possibly this spring, the school plans to have it deliver the bracelets, along with money for supplies that St. Joseph’s needs.

Donate to a baby shower

“People get giddy seeing cute baby things,” said Sarah Heidelberger, parishioner at St. Bartholomew Parish in Villard. “Everybody enjoys a baby shower.”

So, women from St. Bartholomew and Sacred Heart Parish in Glenwood will host a baby shower March 15, “paying it forward” to Options for Women, a pro-life pregnancy center in Sauk Centre, and other families in need.

Their seed grant goes for shower expenses — decorations, prizes, food — and grows by asking guests to donate items or money to Options for Women.
“Bottles, car seats, swings, clothing for warm weather — all are appreciated,” Heidelberger said. “We’re compiling a list of most-needed items.”

Parents earn credits in Options for Women’s education component to “purchase” items there, she said. Because new things “cost” more, tags should be left on new items.

Options for Women also accepts most used items in good condition, she said.

“Besides helping moms in need,” Heidelberger said, “co-hosting this shower connects both of our parishes with a special bond.”

Support Pay it Forward projects
Send donations (with “Pay it Forward” in the memo line) to:

• St. Bartholomew Church
P.O. Box 81
Villard, MN 56385

• Holy Family School
231 Sinclair Lewis Ave.
Sauk Centre, MN 56378

• St. John’s Area School
P.O. Box 368
Foley, MN 56329