SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. — One of the dynamic ways St. Pius X School in South Yarmouth celebrates Catholic Schools Week is by partnering with local charities to learn about the needs in the local community and then donating items to meet those needs.
St. Pius X School is the only Pre-K to eighth-grade school on Cape Cod. The middle school students (fifth-eighth grade) are split into “houses,” named after saints (St. Teresa, St. Veronica, St. Anthony, and St. Elizabeth). Each SPXS “house” is partnered with a lower school class (pre-k to fourth) to support a local charity. The students conduct research on the charity (e.g. how/why it was started and by whom, who/what it serves, who works there, who it helps in the community, etc.). A leader from each charity’s organization visits the school to explain the charity’s mission and how the students can help.
Once the needs of the charities are identified and understood, the students and their families collect items to support the charity. This year’s charity partnerships are: The Housing Assistance Corporation, which serves 5,000 households to prevent homelessness; Heroes in Transition, which serves veterans and their families; the Yarmouth Food Pantry, which serves 800 people a month; and Community Connections, which serves people with disabilities.
In addition to collecting items such as non-perishable food/canned goods, warm winter clothing and blankets, reading materials, art supplies, etc. for these specific organizations, SPXS also runs a social media campaign to raise awareness for the worthy causes. The students write about what they learn about each charity and offer suggestions for how others can help. There is a social media photo contest and the charity/house partnership with the most “likes” wins a financial donation, in addition to the items that are collected on their behalf.
The money for the financial contribution is raised with a $2 “dress down day” donation from students wishing to wear “street clothes” instead of their uniforms for one day. The parent organization, The Friends of SPXS, matches the donations that are raised for an even larger financial impact.
This is the third year that St. Pius X School has partnered with charitable organizations. It has been hugely successful in raising the students’ awareness about the wide variety of needs in their community and helping them to understand the importance of service to others.