#SJPService at Christmas and Beyond
“Lord, Teach Me To Be Generous”
Throughout the year, the St. Joseph’s Prep community is engaged with our neighbors and our city, seeking to provide assistance wherever and whenever needed. The holiday season is a time when many organizations seek additional help and Prep students are always eager to assist.
Our commitment to cura urbi shines through each November with the Prep’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive; this year, more than 24,000 pounds of food was collected to feed more than 450 families. For the Food Drive, the Prep joined with other Jesuit high schools in a friendly competition called the Great Ignatian Challenge. In all, the 18 schools collected a combined 514,797 pounds of food so families could enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.
In December, Prep students, faculty, and staff were able to bring Christmas cheer to dozens of people who need the lift the most. The Prep participated in #SJPService this holiday season by:
Hosting a St. Nicholas Day party at St. Rita's Shrine in South Philadelphia;
Setting up Christmas trees at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania;
Wrapping and organizing for our North Philadelphia neighborhood gift distribution;
Distributing food at Martha's Choice Marketplace in Norristown;
Serving dinner at Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, NJ;
Sorting and washing clothing donations to the Aquinas Center for migrants arriving from the US/Mexico Border;
Setting up and distributing at the monthly food pantry day at the SSJ Neighborhood Center in Camden, NJ
Donating backpacks and toiletries to the Bethesda Project for men experiencing homelessness
Donating Christmas gifts through OSC to the Romero Center, Community Center at Visitation in Kensington and St. Malachy's.
“While many schools collect items for a food or toy drive, at the Prep we are able to go a bit further,” says John Marinacci, President of St. Joseph’s Prep. “We can walk outside, knock on our neighbors’ doors, provide food and gifts to their homes, sing Christmas carols, and interact with them. We are part of their community and they are part of ours. There is a ministry of presence that is possible at the Prep.”
“Our Jesuit mission is at the forefront of this programming as we serve others, find God in all people, places, and things and it certainly fits with the Jesuit Apostolic Principles of Journeying With Youth and Walking With the Excluded,” says Katie Longto, Campus Minister for Ignatian Service. “I am grateful that we are able to sponsor many opportunities throughout the year to help our students learn what it means to live a faith that does justice.”
“Through these acts of service, we are caring for our city, connecting with our neighbors and making a difference in our world,” says Marinacci. “We often realize that these encounters allow for an exchange where we receive more than we give.”
In addition to service opportunities for our students, the Prep partnered with our friends at the Gesu School, Girard College, and Old St. Joseph’s Church as well as civic and political leaders to host two gun buyback events that removed nearly 150 weapons from the streets. Caring for our common Home.
“We are here to engage our neighbors and our community,” says Marinacci. “I am proud to be a part of a school that values this mission and grateful to all members of the Prep community who give of their time, talent, and treasure to these worthwhile endeavors.”