Paying it forward: CSC collects gift cards for schools affected by Hurricane Ian – The Observer

Paying it forward: CSC collects gift cards for schools affected by Hurricane Ian

Posted at 01:23 on Wednesday, November 16, 2022

LAPLACE — After the school and community were damaged by Hurricane Ida, St. Charles Catholic Church received an outpouring of support in the form of supplies, gift cards and donations for families in need . Now is the time to pay for that kindness.

The Comet family recently raised over $1,000 in cash and nearly $1,000 in gift cards to benefit Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, Florida. The Vikings are reeling from the impact of Hurricane Ian, a monstrous storm that left a path of destruction all too familiar to families in St. John the Baptist Parish.

The Clarion Herald reported that 65 families at Bishop Verot High School suffered Hurricane Ian-related flooding and remain displaced from their homes. Many more live under blue tarpaulins.

Students and the community at large were asked to donate $5 in cash or $20 in gift cards. In exchange for donations, the students were allowed to participate in a Halloween fancy dress and costume contest.

Proceeds were used to purchase $2,000 in gift cards for food, gas and household essentials. St. Charles Catholic School principal, Dr. Courtney P. Millet, was blown away by the generosity of the students and she is looking forward to sending the gift cards to Fort Myers just in time to bless families for the Thanksgiving.

While a contribution of just $5 was required to participate in the school’s Halloween festivities, student Erin Powell said students are encouraged to give from the heart with larger donations of $10 to $25.

“We are taught here that we serve God by serving others and helping people. We believe it is truly our mission to help any group that is in need,” Powell said. “We have a bunch of service organizations that we attend at CSC, and we go above and beyond as a school in my opinion to bring joy and peace to people in other parts of the world.”

Alexis Monistere remembers watching footage of Hurricane Ian’s destruction on the news and thinking about how similar the situation was for Catholic families in St. Charles just a year ago.

“We know how it feels to have it all taken away in an instant, so it was just heartbreaking. You don’t want anyone else to have to go through what you went through,” Monistere said. It’s nice to come full circle and now be able to help.”

Many students who donated to help Bishop Verot High School only recently settled back into a sense of normalcy after Hurricane Ida. Mya Brown and Torie Joseph were among those displaced for several months after their homes were flooded and badly damaged by the wind. Even now, their families are still on the hunt for things like chairs for the dining table and finishes that make a house feel like home.

Joseph recalled how other schools came with food, water crates, non-perishable items and donations of gift cards when the Comets needed them.

When Brown heard about the possibility of helping another school in need, she remembered what she had learned from her Catholic faith.

“Matthew in the Bible even says do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” she said. “They were able to help us so much that I felt like being able to help others in the same way was very rewarding.”

Student Matthew Schexnayder had better luck during Hurricane Ida, but he still understood the importance of contributing to a worthy cause.
“Humans have a natural compass for wanting to help others. Giving something is a good feeling,” he said.

Bishop Verot’s principal, Suzie O’Grady, predicts the gift cards will bring relief to families, not just financially, but also spiritually.

Michael N. Clark