Students wrap up Lenten activities during Holy Week
Students at St. Mary School in Janesville then can go back to drinking soda, playing games on the computer or indulging in whatever activity they gave up for Lent.
But teachers hope that the lessons they’ve learned will stay with them as they grow, making them better people.
Students on Wednesday were finishing up the liturgical season with one last exercise in charity: packaging meals for Kids Against Hunger.
Kid Against Hunger is a national organization that sends prepackaged meals to hungry families in the United States and developing countries. The organization provides the ingredients and packaging materials, and local satellites of the national group put the meals together.
Each table was a production line made up of younger kids and their “prayer partners”— older students who were supposed to serve as models and guides.
Everyone wore hairnets and gloves, although some of the younger students got lost inside the protective gear. Hairnets were pushed back from noses or puffed out from the top of tiny heads.
First-grade teacher Christy Olson was on the committee that designed the series of Lenten activities, and this year’s theme was “Look to the Cross.”
The three parts of Lent—alms giving, fasting and prayer—were taught so students would understand the connection between their faith and their actions.
“They were really excited about doing this,” Olson said of the Kids Against Hunger project. “When they were told they could feed 100 people for 80 days—well, they were really excited about that.”
Surprisingly, even the youngest kids were able to make the connection between faith and action.
When Ella Spies, a pre-k student, was asked what she was doing, she said, “Making food for people who don’t have any food.”
Why was she doing that?
After looking at her teacher, Spies replied, “Because Jesus.”
Bryn McBride and Abby Trapp, both first-grade students, wrote their resolutions on paper crosses.
Abby gave up soda, and Bryn resolved to be nicer to her younger brothers.
Was it difficult to be nice to her younger brothers?
“They’re difficult,” Bryn said with emphasis.
Even the younger kids seemed to understand the Christian call to action that is part of Lent. And if they didn’t, they could have their “prayer partner” explain it to them.
When asked how she would explain Lenten sacrifices, Ama Kyereme, a fifth-grade student, said: “I’d tell them, ‘Sometimes you have to put others before yourself.’”