April showers bring May flowers, but around St. Philip High School, May brings philanthropy.
It starts with May Day, which honors the memory of Tim May, St. Philip’s beloved principal who died unexpectedly in November of 2014.
This was the third year students donned their work gloves after Mass, divided into teams, and spruced up the grounds around our schools and parishes.
“Mr. May was huge on service and giving back to your community, so anything we can do for our school community honors him,” senior Hannah Pearl said. “I’m sure all of us helping out and making the grounds of our schools beautiful would have put a smile on his face.”
This May Day some students volunteered at Charitable Union, helping to sort clothes and get a jump-start on Philanthropy Week, which runs May 8-12.
Philanthropy Week is sponsored by the Battle Creek Community Foundation’s Youth Alliance Council, a 35-member grant-making committee comprised of area high school students. Hannah sits on this committee, as well as St. Philip students Emily Pearl, Sarah Guzzo, and Madi Elliot.
Every year the committee picks an organization to sponsor for Philanthropy Week. This year’s recipient is Charitable Union, which provides free clothing and household items for underprivileged people.
“It is often hard for organizations to have resources to advertise…what they do and what they need from the community,” Hannah said.
Along with citywide efforts to raise money for Charitable Union, area high schools have engaged in some friendly competition to see which school can make the biggest impact.
Hannah organized St. Philip’s efforts, which include an internal competition to see which class can collect the most donations.
The week started with a pep assembly, where, amongst the games and buzz, representatives from Charitable Union explained what the non-profit does.
“It raises awareness…instead of people just randomly giving to an organization that they have no idea about,” Hannah said.
Students are collecting clothing and Family Fare receipts, every $150,000 of which earns a $1000 for Charitable Union. There are drop-off sites for both donation types throughout the BCACS school system. Our priests also got the word out to all our Battle Creek parishes about the donation efforts. In addition, high school students can be out of dress code for a $1-a-day donation to the cause.
Philanthropy Week ends with United Way’s Youth Day of Caring on May 12. St. Philip students will return to Charitable Union to volunteer. Afterward, St. Philip will announce the winning class, and the Youth Alliance Council will announce the winning high school.
“Philanthropy is something that should be lifelong,” Hannah said. “Getting kids involved now allows them to be aware of the good you can do for your community.”