December 13, 2013 - 2,002 Ways That Catholic School Students Are Making A Difference In Dorchester*

Dorchester, MA (December 13, 2013) – Every November, the students at Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy (PJPIICA) in Dorchester and Mattapan host a food drive to help those in need during the holiday season. The largest elementary school (private or public) in Boston, PJPIICA is one of three academies supported in part by the Campaign for Catholic Schools, and serves over 1,250 students (Grades PreK-8) of all faiths and backgrounds across four campuses. This past month, the students at PJPIICA’s Lower Mills Campus teamed up to Catholic Charities’ (CCAB) Food Pantry Program, Friends Feeding Families.

Located in the heart of Dorchester, just a short drive from PJPIICA’s Lower Mills campus, is the Yawkey Center—CCAB’s largest food pantry in Massachusetts. Distributing 1,500 lbs of food per week, the Yawkey Center serves 40,000-50,000 people annually. In the last year alone, CCAB helped over 200,000 of its neediest neighbors throughout Eastern Massachusetts, some of whom literally are the neighbors of the PJPIICA students who collected food for them.

Principal Kim Mahoney of PJPIICA’s Lower Mills campus said, “It is part of our students’ Catholic education to learn the life lessons that empower them to become caring, well-rounded, and responsible young men and women. Supporting CCAB’s Friends Feeding Families is one way that we can broaden their education beyond the classroom and help them understand the real value of service, especially to those most in need.”

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the 300 students at PJPIICA’s Lower Mills Campus collected 2,002 food items, all of which was distributed less than 24 hours after it hit the pantry shelves. Ken Binder, Vice President of Development for CCAB, said, “It is because of the great generosity of others that we have been able to feed so many individuals and families in need. We are grateful to the wonderful students at PJPIICA who saw that need and responded so generously. They encourage us all to remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving and what the spirit of service is all about.”