Adriana Nelson, a student in Mrs. Kuenzel’s third-grade class, had a question her mother couldn’t answer.
“We give stuff on Thursdays at church, but why can’t we give stuff to the poor every day?”
The “stuff” she was referring to was the non-perishable food items St. Joseph Elementary and Middle School students bring for the St. Vincent de Paul pantry every Thursday during school Mass.
Adriana wanted to have a competition amongst the grades to see who could bring in the most food during December. The winning class would receive a prize.
Her mother took Adriana to the school’s office, where she presented her idea to the St. Joseph staff.
The staff loved it.
“When one of our students gets the courage to come to the office and ask for something like this, it just warms the heart and reaffirms that our parents, staff, and church are all working together to create amazing young people,” Jeanine Winkler, St. Joseph Elementary administrative assistant, said.
The staff decided to call the competition “Adriana’s Angels”.
From December 2 to December 16, each grade would collect as many non-perishables and toiletries for the St. Vincent de Paul pantry as they could.
When thinking about the prize, the staff decided against an “out of dress code” slip or a pizza party. Instead, they chose a simple poster, which would declare the winning class as possessing “the true Spirit of Christmas, one of service before self”.
The children embraced their goal.
Non-perishable items overwhelmed the baskets at school Mass on Thursday, and sometimes the counters in the classroom, prompting a couple classes to walk their items over to the pantry themselves.
Every Friday, Mrs. Winkler would announce the classroom in the lead. When it was over, Mrs. Doyle’s second grade won, bringing 98 items to the pantry. The real winners were the needy in our area. Thanks to “Adriana’s Angels”, the St. Vincent de Paul pantry received 285 items.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”