What started as an on-campus Friday afternoon "Wise Freedom" project at Sacred Heart has continued in the homes of a handful of SHA families during the coronavirus shut-down.
"Back in December, we started making PB&J sandwiches on Fridays for the homeless in the Kensington section of Philadelphia," explains US Math teacher Mary Brennan who coordinated the program with the help of SHA's CSC Coordinator Kelly Weber. "We decided not to make this a project about earning community service hours; instead it became something the girls could participate in simply because they wanted to do good for others."
One week it was the crew team making sandwiches.The next week it was the newspaper staff. Week after week different students showed up. There was never a shortage of kids willing to help. Some even started donating PB&J supplies to help the cause.
Once the sandwiches were made, Mrs Brennan delivered them each week to Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) Catholic Church in Media. From there, a group of BVM volunteers took them into the city, working with the Sisters of Charity to distribute them along with other donated items to hundreds of men and women living on the streets.
With the shuttering of SHA's campus in mid-March, Mrs. Brennan thought the project would have to end for now. But not so, however, thanks to students who were willing to carry on with the PB&J effort.
"I heard from a few of the girls and their families who wanted to keep it going," Mrs. Brennan said. "We now have 4 or 5 families making sandwiches every week -- often packaging them up with water bottles, crackers or cookies -- and delivering everything themselves to BVM."
The BVM program coordinator is overjoyed that SHA students have continued to help make the so-called "Blessings Bags."
"Great sandwich turnout this weekend,' he texted Mrs. Brennan in early April. "All the shelters were shut down, and we were the only ones here. Set up tables outside the Mother of Mercy House. Fed 700 people. Please tell your families what they are doing is much appreciated. Let them know what a blessing they are to these forgotten souls."
Mrs. Brennan estimates SHA families are contributing upwards of 200 sandwiches each week. And that number could grow if more families want to get involved. "All help is greatly appreciated," she says. "These people are in dire need, and every sandwich is a gift."
If you'd like to help, please contact Mrs. Brennan for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.