On Sunday afternoon, members of this year's Confirmation class presented Betsy Roberts, treasurer of the St. Marys Christian Food Bank, with a check for over $5,500 that they raised for the organization through their "Souper Bowl" collection at area churches on Super Bowl Sunday. The students collected donations following that weekend's Masses at all three Catholic churches in St. Marys, as well as at the chapel at Elk County Catholic High School following a Saturday evening service.
According to Roberts, this is the third year that the Confirmation students have collected money for the Christian Food Bank. She applauded them for their effort and noted that this year's donation surpassed the amounts collected in previous years.
Roberts explained to the students that the funds will be put to good use, noting that they should be enough to cover the cost of providing 120 boxes of food for area families. Boxes are distributed at the food bank, which is located on South Michael Street, every Thursday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. Ninety-two percent of the money received by the Christian Food Bank is put directly toward purchasing food for needy area families who reside in St. Marys, Kersey and Weedville and meet federal income guidelines.
"Last year we gave out 7,851 boxes to 333 households; that's different households. They're only counted once, even though they might come every week. Those households were comprised of 782 individuals, and again those individuals are only counted once, which included 288 children, 75 elderly and 419 adults," Roberts said.
Roberts estimated that around 151 boxes were distributed each week last year.
The St. Marys Christian Food Bank is a strictly volunteer organization and has no paid help.
"We certainly can use donations of food and/or money and we're entirely run by volunteers, so volunteer help is always appreciated. We have over a hundred volunteers," Roberts said.
She added that anyone interested in volunteering at the food bank can contact the organization's vice president, Norma Hanes, at 834-7375.
The Confirmation students also presented a check for over $330 to Chris Jovenittti, founder/director of Letters From Home, in honor of Bishop Donald Trautman.
Confirmation Facilitator Kathy Reuscher explained that during a previous Confirmation class, Fr. Michael Ferrick held a special Mass for the students and provided them with a step-by-step explanation of all of the various elements that take place during a Mass.
"During the collection of that Mass, we decided to collect for Letters From Home," Reuscher said. "That collection is going [in honor of the bishop] and then what we're going to do is take a card to give to the bishop to let him know that is what we did."