By John Venezia, Oblate Associate
The Oblate Associates of St. Stephen Protomartyr Catholic Church in Miramar, Florida spent Wednesday August 10 filling 100 Book Bags intended for children in need of school supplies for the 2016-2017 school year which began on August 22.. With the assistance of the St. Vincent De Paul Society, an organization to feed the hungry and those in need, deserving children received colorful book bags filled with pens, pencils, loose-leaf books, notebook paper, composition books, spiral notebooks, glue sticks, colored pencils, sharpeners, rulers, practically everything a child could use for the upcoming school year. St. Stephen Parishioners also contributed to the collecting of school supplies for the St. Vincent De Paul Society as well.
Oblate Associate, Honey Scott, is the President of the St. Vincent De Paul Society of St. Stephen’s. As clients come in for food, Honey asks them if they have school age children, and if so, she offers them as many bags as the family needs. We also distributed the filled book bags to the Charter School on our property (not affiliated with St. Stephen’s) for those children in need. Finally, we offered them to our Pastor, Father Patrick Charles, to distribute to other parishioners and to children in Haiti.
Participating in this mission of collecting school supplies, filling book bags, and distributing them to thankful parents and children is truly a blessing for the Oblate Associates as we continue to follow the charism of St. Eugene De Mazenod and do apostolic work with the poor and most abandoned.
This is the first time that the Associates have helped the local St. Vincent de Paul Society. But in the Fall of 2014, the Associates gathered 90 pounds of school supplies (less the book bags) and sent them to Fr. Paul Dass Selvaraj, OMI in Eagle Pass, Texas to help the undocumented people and the needy in his parish. So it is really our second time that we are helping the children in need. Of course, we would like to do this again!