Two Houma churches have brought the Christmas spirit to a local school through an interfaith campaign aiming to alleviate child poverty.
Volunteers and representatives from St. Francis de Sales Cathedral and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church obtained computers for Legion Park Elementary in Houma and developed a tutoring program. Twenty-five families also get boxes of groceries each month.
On Monday, organizers dropped off Christmas gifts at the school for all of the students. The two churches had trees where people could select angels representing students.
The services are done as part of the Louisiana Interchurch Conference’s Bread or Stones campaign.
Kathy Butler, pastoral minister at St. Francis, said it’s about more than presents.
“The children know that people care, that there are good people in the world,” she said. “It helps them realize that people support them. I’m hoping it’ll instill faith and hope in them and that they’ll see the light of Christ in what we’re doing. It’s more than just a monetary gift; it’s a gift from the heart and from Christ himself. We’re called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Legion Park is a Title I school, meaning a large percentage of its students come from low-income families.
“We chose to just stick with the one school because it is in such dire need,” Butler said. “Education is everything when it comes to getting out of poverty.”
Principal Sharri McGuire said the school had a few computers, but they were old. She said St. Matthew’s will also be donating knit hats to help keep the kids warm this winter.
″(The volunteers) saw a need, that there were some things that our kids were lacking,” she said. “They just came in and said, ‘What can we do to help?’”
McGuire said she’s overwhelmed by the generosity shown to her school.
“You hear of people wanting to give back, but they have really given to this community and the students,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing. I can’t thank them enough.”
For information on the Bread or Stones campaign, visit breadorstones.com.