Super Visit to the Homeless
.Each year Seton makes a trip to visit the homeless on Super Bowl Sunday. Alumna Maureen Terza Campbell who now teaches at Seton gives us a great look into the tradition and the day by answering some questions.
Could you give a little history of Seton’s Super Bowl Sunday trips to DC to visit the homeless?
I don't really know the history of Seton's Super Bowl Sunday trips to DC to visit the homeless, but from what I understand from Col. Duda that Mr. Hadro started the tradition. I am not sure when. [Editor’s note: Mr. Hadro did start the tradition. He picked Super Bowl Sunday because, as he pointed out, it is the day of greatest extravagance. ]
Is this your first year to lead the group?
I just put flyers up for the students to get more involved in this worthwhile trip. I intended the Girls Religion to do this as a Freshman "Friday" event, so they could do something of service to the poor and needy but "talked it up" for the school and led the collection of food and clothing. Col. Duda was the one who led us the day of the trip.
How was the turnout?
FANTASTIC! I think we had about 53 participants this year.
What do you bring to the homeless?
We bring bag lunches that we make for them (each person makes 20 lunches filled with a meat and cheese sandwich, a drink of 100% juice, a piece of fruit, and chips or crackers), as well as clothing, bags, and toiletry items.
Where do the food and clothing come from? From the Seton Family.
Clothing that is gently used, and some items that are new (socks and underwear). I went over to my parents house to make sandwiches, which my Dad, nephew (Solomon) and sisters helped with. In the midst of making the sandwiches, my nephew started waving his hands in the air to get my attention and was beaming with delight as he said, "Aunt Mo Mo – Aunt Mo Mo – this is my first sandwich I've ever made!" And I told him that that was awesome and he can always remember that he gave the first sandwich he ever made to the poor. Many families that couldn't come made food and gave clothing. We had over 1,000 sandwiches and over 35 bags of clothing!
Where do you go to find the homeless?
We went to Lafayette Plaza behind the White House in DC. When we got there, we attempted to hand out the lunches, but the police said that they weren't there because they have been policing that area well and make them move, so we went to the Second Street Homeless Shelter.
How receptive were they to what you brought them?
VERY!! They were so grateful! I cannot tell you how many people said, "Thank you so much for coming!"
Were there any particular moments that were especially gratifying to you?
Two that I can remember: One man struck me because most of the homeless that we encountered had such sad looks in their eyes, even though they were grateful for us giving them food. It reminded me that we were performing a Corporal Work of Mercy. But the other main part of us is our soul and they are closely united. What we were doing was helping their soul, also. There was a gentleman who came out who was asking us how we were doing – and was so very positive and upbeat even though we knew he was suffering. He was asking us how WE were doing and wishing us a great day even though he had "nothing." He just stuck out in my mind. He performed a Spiritual Work of Mercy for me. 🙂 I loved his positive attitude and it reminded me that having God and radiating Him is always possible for ALL of us – regardless of what we have/don't have. I think also because we are talking in religion class about Adam and Eve and how Sanctifying Grace (God's life within us) is the first and most important gift that God gave Adam and Eve. And the gift that we must have when we die to get to heaven. This man had God. 🙂 And it was AWESOME to see him give Him to us even though he had "nothing." 🙂
The other encounter was just being able to watch the kids enjoy and interact and give joy to the homeless, and for the homeless to give joy to the kids. There was a group of guys who were talking to two Seton girls about the Super Bowl and making bets that the Patriots were going to cream the Giants. They were very animated and just loved that someone cared about what they thought about the game. 🙂
Were most of the students 1st time participators?
I didn't really take a poll on this one, but I believe that about 75% of them were first timers.
How did they interact with the homeless?
We pulled our vehicles around to the shelter – and they came to the truck for food and vans for clothing (we called it the "Moving Wal Mart") – and the kids would offer them food and strike up conversations as they were providing them with food and clothing. The Catalanos provided rolling luggage cases and the homeless LOVED them! They were trying to put their lunches and clothes in them.
Did you go on any of the trips when you were in high school?
No. I don't think that we had them. Or maybe I didn't know about them.
Did any of the students or parents say anything of note to you after the trip?
Yes. Many of the parents were very grateful that we did this and want their kids to do it again. Rose Marie Olsewski was a "piston" the whole time – she was sooooo excited to pass out sandwiches and talk to the homeless she would keep coming back to the truck (I know this is DURING the trip, but…. ) and say, "Load me up…" After and during the trip Denise Heisler said, "This is one of my favorite things to do." Many of the students said that they want to do it again next year.
Any other comments you would like to make?
I would encourage EVERYONE to go on this trip or to help out at a shelter or donate what we have as surplus to them. It was an AMAZING experience and keeps us grounded on what really matters and being mindful of our brothers and sisters – and Christ Himself. As He told us – "And the King will say to them in reply, "As much as you did for the least of my people – you did unto Me."" We need to take Him at His word.
God has been so very very generous to all of us, both spiritually and corporeally – and we need to share what is HIS anyway with others. 🙂 Whenever we are generous, He is 100 times more generous with us, because He can never be outdone in generosity. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Duda and to Mr. Hadro for doing this! I and the students enjoyed it! 🙂
Jezu, ufam Tobie.