St. Raphael’s stewardship program lasted all year long

In various editions of The Record this spring, stories have chronicled the stewardship efforts of schools from all corners of the Archdiocese of Louisville. These reports were the result of information provided to the newspaper by the schools, and such is the case with this latest report about the school-wide stewardship activity of students at St. Raphael School.

Stewardship efforts by schools throughout the archdiocese are impressive each year — and many of the schools’ efforts are year-long affairs.

They were this year at St. Raphael School, too.

According to a news release from the school, the year began with a school-wide “Stewardship Fair” during which each classroom chose a cause they would help or were passionate about as their individual stewardship project for the year. By the end of the school year, the St. Raphael community, the release reported, had donated more than 12,500 needed items — from household supplies to school necessities and clothing for children.

They also collected and donated more than a half ton of food, and $3,544 in cash. According to school leaders, St. Raphael students spent more than 3,500 hours “learning about various local and global causes and working to make a difference in the world.”

Here are some examples of what they accomplished during the year:

The first grade class was instrumental in helping raise the half-ton of food for the Dare to Care food pantry, while the second grade class spent classroom time learning about the Home of the Innocents and then collected, sorted and delivered supplies to the children at the home. They collected, the release said, more than 3,000 school items for the children there.

One of the school’s third-grade classes took on the task of reminding the rest of the school about the work of Catholic Relief Services and reminded students to fill their “rice bowls” with spare change during Lent. The other third grade class collected more than 300 blankets for Blanket Louisville, the agency that helps the poor and homeless keep warm during the winter.

One fourth grade class chose Operation Christmas Child for its efforts and collected 2,214 items which filled 34 boxes that were sent to needy children overseas. The other fourth grade class continued work they had begun last year educating people about the dangers of improperly disposing of old cell phones.

In the process this year, the class learned — and told others — of the environmental harm caused by the mining of coltan in the Congo, a black metallic ore used in cell phone manufacturing. The class collected 120 cell phones and other electronic devices that were donated to Eco-cell for recycling.

One fifth-grade class raised money to build schools for children in Kenya who lack education resources, while another collected more than 300 items and supplies for Habitat for Humanity. The third fifth-grade class heard from a speaker from the agency Supplies Overseas, and decided to collect small gifts and toys for children in a third-world country. They ended up collecting 789 such items.

Middle school students at St. Raphael supported such charities and agencies as The Arrow Fund, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, WaterStep (which collects shoes that are recycled, with the money used to install clean water filtration systems in poor nations and communities). Other charities aided by the middle school included Kosair Children’s Hospital, Raptor Rehab and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

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