Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School students in Venice are seen Sept. 17 with donations for the victims of Hurricane Dorian. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Students reach out to hurricane victims

Fort Myers  |  The images of utter destruction in the Bahamas launched on Diocesan Catholic Schools into action with an urgent need to help.

The Lee County Catholic schools — Bishop Verot Catholic High School, St. Andrew Catholic School and St. Francis Xavier Catholic School — held an ambitious Tri-School Hurricane Relief Drive from Sept. 9-20. The items were being coordinated with a local nonprofit that has connections in the Bahamas.

Items collected included cleaning supplies, hygiene/first aid, non-perishable food and baby care products. One impetus for the efforts was to give back after experiencing massive response in 2017 following Hurricane Irma. Total numbers collected were huge but not calculated by press time.

Similar items were collected by other schools in the Diocese, including Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice, St. Ann Catholic School in Naples and St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota.

“A caring community that serves others” is part of the mission statement of Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School. In response to the hurricane, students prayed for the victims, then the seventh-grade class spearheaded a drive to gather supplies and monetary donations. They set a goal of raising $500 and collecting 1,000 items. In one week, they surpassed their goals having collected 1,476 items and $1,040.20. The school connected with a local nonprofit organization, Agape Flight, which flies out of Venice Airport regularly delivering donations.

The Mini Vinnies club of St. Ann School in Naples, which is affiliated with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, collected necessities for the Bahamas. 

Building upon the theme “We are Disciples of Christ!” St. Martha Catholic School and St. Mary Academy in Sarasota joined together to collect donations for hurricane relief.

One kindergarten student at Donahue Academy of Ave Maria took it upon herself to bake and sell cupcakes to support communities hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian. She raised nearly a $100. These are just a few of the examples of the good works done by the students of Diocesan Catholic Schools. 

The Hurricane Dorian Fund can be found on the Diocese of Venice website at www.dioceseofvenice.org. Financial donations will be given to organizations assisting the victims of the storm. No specific Diocesan collections of goods was established given the difficulty in logistics.