Parents Join Students on Family Service Day

Parents Join Students on Family Service Day
Students at Saint Viator High School are required to spend at least 20 hours a year
doing community service. On September 29, their parents got in on the act.
A total of 275 volunteers --including students, parents and
siblings, as well as faculty and
administration --- split up into three
shifts to fill food packets at the Feed
My Starving Children plant in
“This event brought the entire
Saint Viator community together,” said
Betsy Fons, Campus Ministry director.
“It was so successful that spaces filled
within a few weeks. I had to turn away
another 200 people who wanted to
Volunteers worked side by side at tables to hand-pack meals specifically
formulated for malnourished children. Each packet was enough to feed a family of six
and contained rice, extruded soy nuggets packed with protein, vegetable flavoring that
contained valuable vitamins and minerals, and dehydrated vegetables.
At one table, they let out a cheer --- “Lions!” --- every time they filled a box with
the maximum 36 meal packets. The volunteering families came from communities
including Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and Mount Prospect.
“This is fun,” said Eileen Hafner of Mount Prospect, who worked with her
freshman twins, Catherine and John. “It feels like you’re on a team.”
At another table, senior Erin Nelson of Barrington worked with her mother,
Sylvia, to help scoop, measure and weigh the food packets.
“It’s nice to spend the day with my mom --- helping others,” Erin said.
In all, they combined to fill 332 boxes of food packets --- or more than 71,000
meals --- over the course of one day, which was enough to feed nearly 200 children for an
entire year.
Jon Skehan, one of the team leaders from the Feed My Starving Children
organization, said most of their boxes would be shipped to Swaziland, with the remainder
going to Haiti.
“We get lots of schools and other organizations that come to volunteer, but we
love to get families,” Skehan said. “They’re the ones that return to volunteer again.”
Fr. Robert M. Egan, C.S.V., president of Saint Viator, worked with one of the
teams. He operated the power tool that sealed the food packets.
“I’m always extremely proud of the Viator community, who reach out to people
in great need,” he said. “We may not be able to change the world --- but we can do small
things that will one day change the world.”