November 20, 2012 | Vol. 73 No. 17

Child care center kids taught to give back

Saint Mary of the Mount Child Care Center and the Saint Mary of the Mount/Saint Justin Religious Education program are teaming up to do what they can to help support the Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry this Thanksgiving.

Kids are taught to count their blessings by giving back and to become part of something that makes a difference. Just one small act of kindness can make kids feel worthwhile.

“It’s a nice, little lesson for little people,” says Mary Lou Folino, director of Saint Mary of the Mount Childcare center. “Through donating, we teach kids to be thankful for their blessings and to share with others and that they are a contributing part of the world. They aren’t just kids. They can change the world with their own two hands.”

The pantry serves more than 150 families each month that otherwise might have to make a difficult choice between having enough food to eat each day and vital expenses such as rent or medical bills. Children from both programs are asked to donate small, non-perishable items such as paper products, peanut butter or canned vegetables so they can experience the meaning of Thanksgiving.

“Bringing in food is meant to tie in with how faith can be lived,” says Holly Mohr, Director of Saint Mary of the Mount/Saint Justin Religious Education Program. “Kids seem excited to share because they feel powerful, like they have something to contribute, like they are part of something bigger than they are.”

“As we gather around our tables, we count our blessings and hope that the kids will be remembered at someone else’s table for having made a difference,” says Ms. Folino. “Hopefully, it’s a lesson that will be with them for the rest of their lives.”

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