Hope Hero Shoutout!

It started out as a project for their Theology class. It turned into a life lesson for this group of students at Bishop Ward High School.

The students chose to coordinate a toy drive to benefit Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas’ Christmas Store held at the Emergency Assistance Center in Kansas City, Kansas. “I had volunteered at Hope Distribution Center before, and I loved seeing how many people Catholic Charities helps,” says student Anahi Quinonez. “From that moment, I knew I wanted to help Catholic Charities.”

To garner excitement and support from their fellow students for the toy drive, they made posters, posted on social media, announced the drive over the school intercom and visited each home room to personally collect toys each day. As an added incentive, every student who donated a toy had their name entered into a raffle to win a $20 gift card donated by the school.

Their efforts didn’t stop there. They held a “dress down” day to generate funds to shop for additional toys. Inspired by the students’ efforts, Christ the King Catholic grade school in Kansas City, Kansas joined in the fun. They also had a “dress down” day, and donated the money to the Bishop Ward toy drive.

All in all, the students proudly donated 208 toys to the Christmas Store. The joy continued as they volunteered at the store and got to see firsthand the affect those donations had on the parents who were shopping for their families. “We met so many great people, including the incredible staff,” says Quinonez. “It was an amazing experience!”

As the project wrapped up, Annette Bentzinger, Parish, School and Community Outreach Coordinator, found the students’ reaction to be heartwarming. “They were anxious to go out and do more for their neighbors,” she says.

Through this project, they have certainly found this passage from the Bible (Acts: 20:35) to ring true: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’