By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
RADNOR – Whether they saved their allowance or raised money delivering newspapers, babysitting, taking out the trash or tackling extra household chores, children from Catholic schools across the Archdiocese had, at press time, collected $62,553 for their less fortunate peers through “Nickels for Neighbors,” the youth-sponsored campaign of the Catholic Charities Appeal.
Four days before Catholic Charities Appeal Sunday the youngsters delivered their hard-earned money to Auxiliary Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, chairman of the Catholic Charities Appeal, at a pep rally-like event in the gymnasium of Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor.
St. Mary Magdalen School in Media collected the largest total – $2,717.72.
A resourceful 10-year-old Ryan Hallinan, a fourth-grader at St. Mary Magdalen, contributed the $100 he earned helping out around the house – feeding his family’s dog, picking up the mail and cleaning his room – and from tapping into his personal savings.
“Giving is important,” he said.
Ryan said he and his schoolmates have a message to boys and girls across the Archdiocese who are less fortunate than they are: “We’re always thinking of you.”
The April 29 rally drew 75 of the 110 participating schools as well as jugglers, a man on stilts and a Carroll band, cheerleaders and mascot.
“We’re very pleased with the generosity of our young people,” Bishop McFadden said. “It demonstrates an understanding of our responsibility as members of God’s family to look after our brothers and sisters who are in need.”
Bishop McFadden was buoyed by the glee that filled the gymnasium.
“Whenever you’re doing the Lord’s work, there’s a special sense of joy that permeates the whole atmosphere – that’s the joy of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Although officially named “Nickels for Neighbors,” the campaign includes coins and bills of all denominations. After students pool their money at their respective schools, each school writes a check to the Catholic Charities Appeal for the total their students collectively raised.
On behalf of their schoolmates, student representatives at the rally hand-delivered the checks to the bishop.
He said he was particularly moved by the participation of the youngsters representing the five archdiocesan schools of special education.
“While they themselves have been given a challenge in life, they’re willing to help others with the challenge that God has given to them,” Bishop McFadden said
The Nickels for Neighbors money will be counted toward the overall goal of the appeal – set at $10 million this year. All of the funds raised by the appeal benefit the needy of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown gave the second highest amount, $2,600. Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Southampton, Bucks County, collected the third highest amount, $2,200.
Rounding out the top six school fund-raisers were: Conwell-Egan Catholic High School in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, $2,040.57, St. Matthew School, Philadelphia, $2,000; and Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Delaware County, $1,500.
Nickels for Neighbors collected $65,000 last year and $45,000 in 2007.
“We’re called to be of one mind and of one heart – the goal of that is that there be no needy among us,” Bishop McFadden said. “That’s possible by our pooling our resources to help our needy brothers and sisters.”
Bishop McFadden is calling on Catholics of the Archdiocese to contribute to the Catholic Charities Appeal. “Our hope would be that the adult community would show the same generosity and support for their needy brothers and sisters that has been demonstrated by the children.”
Citing Scripture, the chairman concluded, “The children will lead us.”
CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.