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The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press

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Bishop Miege Press

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Giving Back: Red Bag Program gives students an opportunity to provide Christmas to families

Each+family+wrapped+gifts+and+donated+money+for+their+Don+Bosco+family.+Multiple+herds+bought+bicycles+for+a+variety+of+age+groups.+
Sally Panis
Each family wrapped gifts and donated money for their Don Bosco family. Multiple herds bought bicycles for a variety of age groups.

This holiday giving season, the student body and staff participated in a charity event: Don Bosco: Holiday Friends Adoption Program. According to Bill Creach, director of campus ministry, each faith family provides gifts to a designated family who cannot afford a true Christmas this season. Following CMT’s emphasis on service, this is an opportunity for the school to give back to the surrounding families that support them. 

According to Creach, Red Bag was a previous organization the school donated to but CMT decided to make a switch to Don Bosco’s program after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Red bag has become a codeword or a nickname for this tradition at Miege,” Creach said. “Coming out of COVID-19, we were back at school, but the Red Bag organization was not ready. They were playing it safer because of all these health concerns. Miege didn’t have a Christmas project.”

Looking for a new winter project, the school made the move to Don Bosco’s program, the Holiday Friends Adoption Program. A family in need of assistance with Christmas presents were assigned to each faith family. Required participation amongst students made a lasting impact on both the Miege community as well as each Don Bosco family. 

“Don Bosco centers is located in Kansas City, Missouri and they help people for a wide range of reasons,” Creach said. “Whether they’re senior citizens, whether they’re in between jobs, whether they’re new to the country, new to the community, immigrants, refugees, just people in need for a variety of reasons.”

Don Bosco sends CMT the names of the family members, their ages, gender, sizes and wish list including: their individual family needs and their collective family needs such as snow shovels or blankets. 

“We assign each faith family a couple of people to adopt,” Creach said. “Instead of helping 32 people, we’re helping around 80 people. I thought it was a good fit for us; we’re helping more people and it ties into our herd community building.”

According to Creach, a few herds have been adopting the same family for a couple of years, provided that the families are getting bigger, those herds keep that connection.

“Once we get the money raised and gifts are donated, we share the Google sheets with the Miege parents, hopefully generating more donations to get all the things on each family’s list,” Creach said.

On Dec. 14 each faith family had a ‘wrapping party’ where groups gathered to wrap presents, enjoy snacks and listen to Christmas music. This festive event follows a new herd tradition, decorating trees that Don Bosco’s presents will lie under.

“I feel like because our school is really big on community, it builds a sense of that not only with our peers and the people in our faith families, but around the entire area,” freshman Adie Balino said.

These winter projects began at the heart of campus ministry, former director of campus ministry, Mary Perrini. 

“Mrs. Perrini just had a gift for all the things that a campus minister should do and be; she thought outside the box,” Creach said. “Mrs. Perrini started the spring break mission trips and organized us to go to the National Catholic Youth Conferences every two years.”

Recognized for her impact on past and current generations, Mrs. Perrini helped establish service hours as a student expectations and requirement for graduates.

This service is seen throughout the student body each winter as each herd gives back to the community. “I think all that just helps build and deepen community and faith and service for our students, faculty and staff,” Creach said. “It makes us extra thankful and also proud of ourselves for coming through for people who otherwise wouldn’t have a Christmas.”

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Bella Dessert, Copy Editor
Sally Panis, Print Editor in Chief

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