By Anne Marie Amacher
BETTENDORF — School and religious education leaders told supporters of the Holy Childhood Association of their efforts to raise money throughout the school year during a dinner and business meeting April 10 at The Lodge. More than 100 supporters attended the annual gathering.
The Holy Childhood Association was started in 1843 by Bishop Charles de Forbin-Janson of France whose goal was to work with and for the poorest of the world’s children in the missions of his day.
Bishop Forbin-Janson believed in children helping children and invited them to pray for and offer help to children in Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and Latin America, said Msgr. W. Robert Schmidt, director of the Davenport Diocese’s Holy Childhood Association. That tradition of children helping children continues today.
The Holy Childhood Association, based in Rome, is part of the Pontifical Mission Societies and has more than 120 national offices across the world and a diocesan chapter in the Diocese of Davenport.
Christine Meyer, principal at St. Joseph School in DeWitt, said classes each year want to outdo the previous year’s fundraisers for Holy Childhood, and that’s a challenge. Sister Theresa Ann Spitz, RSM, coordinates the efforts at the school, she noted. St. Joe’s undertakes two major projects to raise money for Holy Childhood: Kindergarten students bring in items to build a scarecrow, which is raffled off in the fall, and all classes participate in a penny challenge during Catholic Schools Week. Each classroom has two jugs – one for pennies and one for silver coins. “We try to raise as many pennies as possible. The great part of this challenge is if you put in a silver coin, it knocks off points,” Meyer said.
Debra Herbers, a religious education teacher at St. Anthony Parish in Davenport, said two bake sale projects — one featuring pies sold at Thanksgiving — raise money for Holy Childhood. Students challenge each other and rise to the occasion. Morgan Bulin and Sarah Walsh, eighth-graders in St. Anthony’s religious education program, enjoyed the Thanksgiving fundraiser as they baked many goods. Sarah baked four cakes, dozens of cookies and some bread. “We lost by a hair (to the challenge of the ninth-graders) but we worked really hard and had fun.” Morgan baked two pies, dozens of lemon bars, brownies and two cakes. “It was a lot of fun.”
Julie Delaney, principal at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport, said teacher Cathy Hannon coordinates efforts at St. Paul’s. The main fundraising and awareness campaign is during Lent. Retreats and almsgiving occur throughout the season. “It’s low key, but a tradition here,” she said.
“We believe that whatever we do for the least of our sisters and brothers, we do for Jesus and the welfare of our Church,” Msgr. Schmidt said.