Catholic Memorial hosts annual Crusader Day of Service

Originally posted by The Waukesha Freeman….

WAUKESHA — Catholic Memorial High School, 601 E. College Ave., held their ninth annual Crusader Day of Service Wednesday, continuing the school’s tradition of dedicating the entire day before Thanksgiving to supporting organizations in the greater community.

This year’s Day of Service brought together CMH students, alumni, parents and faculty to focus on supporting those in need during the holidays. In total, 1,500 hours of service were dedicated by 600 students to help 15 different organizations and nonprofits.

“One of our values that we live by here is called ‘Caritas in Omnibus,’ which means ‘charity in all things’,” said Director of Campus Ministry and organizer of the Day of Service Cindi Petre. “We reach out and take care of one another. We’re showing our thankfulness by helping others.”

Petre said this is the student’s favorite day of the year and something everyone looks forward to. The students have the opportunity to sign up for the organization project of their choosing, giving them to chance to sign up with their friends.

The school focuses on the needs in Waukesha County with service in Milwaukee as well. The students, staff and volunteers participated in various activities including making and delivering lunches to organizations serving the homeless like Street Angels, making care packages for people at The Women’s Center and Children’s Hospital, making fleece blankets for shelters, serving and preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for the community and more.

On Wednesday night from 4:30 to 6 p.m., CMH hosted the 37th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Students signed up to help prepare that dinner during Wednesday’s service day.

Ann and Anthony Maas, both teachers at CMH, have been leading and cooking the dinner for the past 32 years. They collect donations from people in the Catholic Memorial community to serve 14 turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a variety of Thanksgiving foods to the community.

In past years, up to 250 people have attended the dinner, which is free for the community and brings in anyone in need, the elderly in the neighborhood and anyone who wants to join.

“We’re giving them (the students) an idea of what it is to cook and to help people in the community,” said Ann Maas while showing the students how to prepare the turkey on Wednesday. “It’s just a really nice way to help these kids understand that they are so blessed, and we are giving back.”

“A big thing is sometimes people don’t know or understand why someone is homeless, and so we try to kind of push that away and just focus on their need for food,” said Fryda. “Around the holidays, it’s probably most important because it’s cold and people are trying to find ways to stay warm. So not having to worry about finding a meal is probably one less thing to worry about, and they feel loved.”

More students came to put together care packages that will be delivered to The Women’s Center. The packages include socks, handwarmers, food and toiletry items.

Student Finn Fox signed up to help with the project. “I feel super grateful to be with my family every year and get food and gifts, and I want somebody else to have that same opportunity,” said Fox.

In a classroom, student Ella Lubarsky walked around helping other students make paracord bracelets for deployed troops. This is Lubarsky’s second year working on this project for Operation Gratitude, an organization that honors the service of our military and first responders by creating opportunities to express gratitude.

“These (paracord bracelets) can hold around 550 pounds, so deployed troops use them in service. Last year we made around 300 or so,” said Lubarsky, who added that she enjoys helping her classmates make them. “It’s a complicated process, but once you learn how, it’s really easy to start making it.”

Students stationed all throughout the school spent the day on their projects, and some students worked with organizations off-campus.

“It’s good for the kids. It’s good for the adults. It’s good for the community,” said Petre.