St. Charles Borromeo students support school in Uganda

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The answer was quick when St. Charles Borromeo School parent Stacey Iadezito came to principal Jackie Voelkl asking her help in raising funds to purchase mattresses for Broader Vision School in Uganda.

Certainly, or as Curly Howard from the Three Stooges would emphasize the affirmative, "Soi-ten-ly."

The students at the school in St. Charles responded enthusiastically as well, raising almost $2,230 for the school in Uganda, an archdiocesan Mission Office-sponsored program of Pan y Amor.

The school and dormitory for school-age boys and girls in Kampala, Uganda, was established by Father George Ssemmombwe, a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.

Broader Vision School has doubled recently, from about 200 students to 420. Students come from South Sudan, Tanzania and Congo. Most students board at the school, since they are street kids, orphans or are attending far from home. The expansion brought the need for mattresses and other large items, such as chairs and desks.

The original goal of raising $1,000 was reached the first week.

Voelkl settled on a "penny wars" concept for raising funds along with a dress-down day. The students were presented with the idea at a Monday morning prayer service with some visuals and information about the cause. "Collecting their coins was the goal, putting the mission in their hands, and they were very generous," Voelkl said. "It helped them to count their blessings and recognize what others don't have and how they can help provide."

Katie Wegermann, office manager and Missionary Plan of Cooperation Coordinator for the Mission Office, said schools and groups are welcome to raise funds for mission programs. Iadezito is a scouting leader at the parish and picked the Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference at the parish and the school in Uganda as projects to support. Expanding the Pan y Amor program schoolwide helped reach their goal. The girls in her troop led the effort with flyers and collection buckets. "The mattresses really hit home with the girls," Iadezito said. "That's a basic need."

Wegermann was pleased with Iadezito's assistance because her office had been looking for a way to fund the mattresses. Another successful recent fundraiser was the March Missions Madness basketball tournament for St. Louis Young Adults, an outreach of the Office of Young Adult Ministry in the archdiocese, held at St. Mary's High School. It raised $1,197.25 for Pan y Amor programs.

Pan y Amor, meaning "bread and love" in Spanish, provides for the physical and spiritual needs of children around the world.

St. Charles Borromeo School students do a variety of other fundraising for programs serving people in need such as purchasing 300 individually wrapped gifts for residents of Holy Angels Shelter in East St. Louis, Ill. 

>> Pan y Amor

Pan y Amor is a program of the Archdiocesan Mission Office. Through sponsorship donations, Pan y Amor funds programs for children in need in Bolivia, Colombia, Kenya and Uganda.

Many of these children are abandoned and homeless, orphaned or severely neglected, but they find refuge, a better life, and a future in homes for children such as the Hogar Carlos de Villegas in La Paz, Bolivia, or the Asociacion Talita Kum in Boyaca, Colombia. These and similar homes provide food, shelter, clothing and a loving and safe environment for children in desperate situations.

Other young people are afforded greater opportunities for education, through initiatives supported by Pan y Amor such as the Eastlands Youth Project in Nairobi, Kenya. The project offers education, job training, counseling and tutoring to young men. Many of these programs could not operate without the support of Pan y Amor.

TO SUPPORT PAN Y AMOR: Send contributions to Missions Office, 20 Archbishop May Drive, St. Louis, MO 63119; call (314) 792-7655; or visit www.stlouisreview.com/rRV. 

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