Mount Students Begin The Holiday Season In Service To Others

Mount Saint Mary Academy Peer Ministers collected food for the Mercy Center Thanksgiving Food Drive. (Photo courtesy of Mount Saint Mary)

WATCHUNG – Service is an essential core value all year long for students at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung and that spirit of giving is particularly evident during the holiday season. Throughout the month of November, students have coordinated food drives, book collections, and numerous fundraisers aimed at helping those in need both locally and around the world.

The Mount’s Peer Ministers, a student organization dedicated to faith and service, coordinated a collection of Thanksgiving food items to benefit the Mercy Center in Asbury Park, which will use the donations to create over 300 gift baskets for hungry area residents. The group also accepted a last-minute request to assist with the Angels in Action Food Drive in nearby Plainfield earlier this week.

“Every morning that I drive up to the Mount I am reminded of how blessed we all are in so many ways,” said Mount Campus Minister and Religion teacher Isabel Gachko. “As a community founded on the Mercy core values, it is our duty to share our blessings with others, especially at Thanksgiving and the holiday season.”

The Mount’s Home Economics Club has been working to raise funds and awareness for the “She’s the First Foundation,” a non-profit group that sponsors female education in the developing world. The club has chosen to donate all proceeds from their fundraising events to young women in Tanzania. “Girls helping girls – what better idea for a fundraiser,” said club moderator Carol Colluccio.

Individual Mount students have also coordinated drives to benefit various causes with the support of the school. Junior Margot Camino collected books for local children in first through fourth grades throughout the month of November. This followed a campaign by Svetlana Marhefka, also a Mount junior, to raise supplies and awareness for St. Hubert’s Animal Wellness Center in Morristown.

With Thanksgiving drives now complete for this year, Mount students turn their attention to a number of causes during the Christmas season. The Peer Ministers are also in the process of planning the school’s upcoming service day, an annual event which allows students and faculty to travel throughout the state to volunteer at hospices, food banks, and senior facilities.

Mount Saint Mary Academy is a Catholic, independent school which provides an exemplary college preparatory education for young women in grades 9 through 12. Founded in 1908 as a sponsored work of the Sisters of Mercy, the Mount remains committed to challenging each student to develop her fullest potential in a Christian atmosphere of love and caring.

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