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A blessing to others

Ryan seniors pack boxes with bags for the needy.
Students from Archbishop Ryan and Our Lady of Calvary write letters of hope to the less fortunate.
Ryan senior Eliana Szatkowski fills a bag with items for the needy.
Archbishop Nelson Perez, Ryan president Joe Sanginiti, Ryan principal Joe McFadden.
Archbishop Nelson Perez

Archbishop Nelson Perez last Thursday visited Archbishop Ryan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Catholic Schools Week and highlight a service initiative.

This year’s theme was Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community.

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More than 300 students, including Ryan seniors, combined their efforts to package 2,500 relief bags with items for homeless people served by Nutritional Development Services’ Community Food Program.

Other schools taking part included Little Flower, St. Hubert, Father Judge, St. Katherine of Siena, Our Lady of Calvary and Christ the King.

The relief bags were filled with nutrition bars, snacks, water, deodorant wipes, hand wipes, soap, shampoo, wash cloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, ponchos, thermal blankets, socks and hand warmers.

Personal, handwritten notes with prayerful encouragement were also included in the bags.

Pérez was joined by Heather Huot, Secretary for Catholic Human Services of Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Liz Hagedorn, executive director of Nutritional Development Services; David Stier, Assistant Director of Community Relations for Nutritional Development Services; Joe Sanginiti ’75, president of Ryan; Joe McFadden ’97, Ryan principal; and Office of Catholic Education officials Jay DeFruscio, Andrew McLaughlin and Brooke Tesche.

Ryan senior Christopher Yengbeh sang the Star-Spangled Banner during the event, held in the gym. Billy Killian, co-president of the Ambassador program, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Fellow Ambassador co-president Jessica Linneman offered a prayer.

Perez told the students that their participation in the event was a sign of God’s love and care for the recipients of the bags. He described them as “missionary disciples,” helping folks they will never meet. He asked them to thank their parents and teachers for their education.

Hagedorn, the Nutritional Development Services director, told the students they are “blessed to be a blessing to others.”

The bags were taken to places such as St. John’s Hospice; the nonprofit Face to Face human services organization; Mercy Hospice; Broad Street Ministry; St. Francis Inn; St. Basil Support Ministry; and the Patrician Society/Norristown Hospitality Center. ••

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