First Mercy Project: Care Packages for the Homeless

This past Tuesday, the fifth graders in St. Cajetan’s RE program assembled care packages of personal hygiene items for the homeless. This took place as part of a unique partnership between the fifth-grade class and the Action for Others campaign at Loyola Press. Employees at LP were invited, over the past two weeks, to purchase and donate personal hygiene items or cash toward the project. I delivered the items to the parish and assisted the catechists and some helpers in setting up a staging area.

The catechists then began class and introduced the project for the evening. They invited me to introduce myself, and so I told them about Loyola Press employees collecting the donations that they would assemble. We had a very thoughtful conversation about the plight of the homeless and the kids were very sensitive and respectful. Several shared stories of encountering the homeless as well as volunteering with their families at a homeless shelter.

We then headed to the staging area and asked the associate pastor who was present to bless the donations, the young people, and our proceedings. The young people then thoughtfully went from table to table and gathered the items to go in their care packages. Afterwards, they were very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this project, and they look forward to more opportunities to show God’s mercy to those in need.

The care packages will be delivered to the homeless by parishioners this week and the coordinator of the ministry, Mr. John Blake, will be a guest speaker for the fifth-grade class next week.

Here are the happy fifth graders showing off their completed care packages (faces hid to protect their anonymity).
Here are the happy fifth graders showing off their completed care packages (faces hid to protect their privacy).
Here I am with St. Ignatius and Linnette Mathys who heads our Loyola Press Action for Others Initiative, alongside donated items for the care packages!
Here I am with St. Ignatius and Linnette Mathys, who heads our Loyola Press Action for Others initiative, alongside donated items for the care packages.
About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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