By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — The cafeteria at Our Lady of Angels School in Westport was hoppin’ July 30 as the setting sun’s rays striped tables laden with school supplies. About 20 members of Catholic Charities Junior Board gathered to pack bags of the school supplies for kids at Our Lady of Angels and Holy Cross schools and kids in Our Lady of Peace Parish.
This is the third year for the School Supply drive and distribution. The Junior Board is comprised of young adult professionals from both sides of the state line who volunteer their time to serving those in need. Frank Allen, Board President, said that about 15 members make up the Junior Board’s Executive Committee with a constituency of about 400 members. Allen and Events Committee member Nick Suarez, stood ready, armed with large contractor’s plastic sacks, to load up plastic Wal-Mart bags stuffed with brand new school supplies. When filled, each contractor’s bag would hold 20 stuffed Wal-Mart bags.
Each Wal-Mart bag was stuffed, assembly line style, with two folders, one pack of paper, one notebook, one pencil box, one box of crayons, two black and two red pens, one package of washable markers, one big glue stick or two small glue sticks, one eraser, six pencils, a ruler and a pair of scissors. As the bags received each item and passed to the next member in the line, there was chatter and laughter about all kinds of topics. Music from somebody’s phone played softly in the background. In about two hours, 37.5 contractor’s bags were filled with 750 Wal-Mart, er school supply, bags. Last year, the Junior Board filled and distributed 450 bags of school supplies.
Junior Board Treasurer Andrew Shepard said that most of the funds to purchase the school supplies come from the annual Soiree held each Spring at Union Station’s Science City. The 2014 Soiree raised about $3,500 to help fund various Catholic Charities programs as well as purchase the school supplies. Shepard said the Junior Board had also received 30 boxes of donated items from individuals in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese and from several parish drives.
A truck was to pick up the 25 contractor’s bags containing school supplies destined to delight students at Holy Cross School and in Our Lady of Peace Parish. The remaining 12.5 contractor’s bags containing 250 bags of school supplies stayed at Our Lady of Angles School to be distributed to its students.
Aug. 3 was the big distribution day. Junior Board members signed up to be at Our Lady of Angels after the 8:30 a.m. Mass to help pass out bags of supplies to the students. It was part of the annual orientation day at Holy Cross School, and part of a parish festival at Our Lady of Peace Parish. The parish was hosting a barbecue and several vendors were to be there, including Holy Rosary Credit Union and representatives from the Mexican Consulate.
Catholic Charities Junior Board is a volunteer group of young adult professionals, age 21 and older. They are committed to serving those in need and want to make a difference in the lives of those they serve. The young adults participate in several social events and a number of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. The annual Soiree at Science City is the major social fundraiser. Another social event is held in early December.
Young adult professionals interested in learning more can “like” Catholic Charities Junior Board on Facebook or visit www.catholiccharities-kcsj.org, click on ways to help and Join Junior Board for registration forms and email requests.