Reckling Gymnasium is routinely a buzz of St. Thomas student activity throughout the academic year, from the celebratory salutes to champion scholars, to the latest rim-racking display from Eagle Basketball, to the welcoming of the next exemplary class of freshman student leaders.
But few swirls within the friendly confines matched the impact in April which carried from campus and was felt beyond borders. St. Thomas Campus Ministry collaborated with Cross Catholic Outreach to stage a two-day food packing event, involving the student body teaming with faculty and volunteers. Approximately 100,000 meals were packaged and shipped to those in need in Haiti where a single packet of soy-dense Vitafood can feed a family of six.
“It’s amazing to think that in such a short amount of time a relative number of young men can feed so many people,” Dean of Theology Andrew Quittenton says. “When our Eagle community comes together, we can accomplish the extraordinary.”
Eagle Community. Amazing. Extraordinary. The power of goodness, discipline, and knowledge.
Students worked side-by-side, stuffing then sealing air-tight packets with food, and packing boxes with life-saving nutrition for the chronically malnourished.
“With all the restrictions surrounding COVID-19, it’s difficult to arrange service opportunities off campus,” Quittenton says. “This is a premium option and an exciting project that involves all our students. Everyone was sanitized. Gloves and hairnets. The supplies are handled carefully. I marveled at how the Eagle brotherhood embraced the cause with a great spirit. And fighting hunger has been a particular focus during the fall and spring semesters – homeless packages, a 30-hour fast so that they could relate somewhat to go without a meal. Cross Catholic was the perfect partner to continue this education.”
St. Thomas first connected with the agency in 2016 for the same food-packing initiative, a coordinated effort aligned with the Basilian mission to educate, advocate, and serve those whose lives are afflicted by these poverty-induced conditions. The association parlays perfectly with the school’s long-established relationship with Magnificat House and its Loaves and Fishes program which provides meals for many of Houston’s hungry and homeless. Affecting short-term relief may fuel long-term solutions that address systemic causes.
For generations, St. Thomas has instilled social justice responsibility in nurturing the complete student by creating a culture rooted in service. The emphasis is that the student’s individual formation requires more than achievement in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum. Rooted at the core of the St. Thomas educational model is the commitment to transforming the minds and hearts of the Eagle campus community through advancement and social justice awareness. The prime purpose is laying the foundation for lifelong stewardship for sacrifice and sharing by devoting significant energy and talent for the betterment of communities.
Cross Catholic recognized an opportunity to galvanize Eagle students and Campus Ministry to deliver aid and disaster relief to the poorest of the poor internationally. The 501c3 Catholic relief and development ministry is registered with the Diocese of Palm Beach in South Florida. The organization channels funds through dioceses, parishes, and Catholic missionaries, cost-effectively helping those in need to break the cycle of poverty while advancing the Catholic faith.
According to the Cross Catholic’s website, the organization is committed to providing “food, shelter, medical care, education and emergency relief to the poorest of the poor in dioceses around the world in the name of Christ … housing for the homeless, medicines and health care for the indigent and clean water for communities that have none.”
Cross Catholic Outreach projects include care and education for orphans, sustainable housing, clean water, and other long-term development efforts to deliver food, shelter, and hope.
Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.