Immaculate Conception in East Aurora Responds with Loveby Virginia Wallace
Students of Catholic schools sometimes spend Catholic Schools Week wearing crazy hats and miss-matched socks. It's the one week each school year when students and teachers alike are allowed, if not encouraged, to go a bit wild within the school walls. Though students at Immaculate Conception School in East Aurora (ICEA) eagerly participate in the just-for-fun activities, they also set aside a day that week for service.
A few weeks before Catholic Schools Week, which this year ran from January 25-31, students are given a dress-down day to raise money for a service project that is shared by the entire student body. The funds raised this year -$228.00 - enabled parent volunteers to purchase 50 pounds of potatoes, 30 pounds of carrots, jumbo bags of salad, 80 pounds of chicken, 10 dozen rolls, 2 jumbo boxes of brownie mix, and 2 jumbo bags of Jell-O for the students to help prepare a meal for clients of the Response for Love Center in Buffalo.
Immaculate Conception has had a long and caring relationship with the Response to Love Center. Students learn and understand the needs of the Buffalo community that the Center serves. "On the Tuesday of Catholic Schools Week each class signs up for a task", said Principal Karen Adamski. The school kitchen then becomes a hive of activity. One grade peels the potatoes and another peels carrots. One grade of students measures ingredients; others mix the brownies or place fruit in the Jell-O, while still others prepare the chicken with breading. The upper grades assist in the preparation of some the menu items, while the primary grades create placemats or fill trays with rolls.
According to Miss Adamski, "parents do much of the cooking, baking, mashing and fill the large aluminum foil pans for transport to the center. By 2:30 all the work is finished, the vans are packed and all the food is sent off to the Response to Love Center where it will be reheated for use the next day." The meal the students have prepared will serve up to 150 Response to Love clients.
ICEA students exemplify the true meaning of service learning.