Catholic schools to help hospitalized children, families

On any given day, in just about every Catholic school, students are involved in the effort to help others. From raising funds for worthy nonprofits, to visiting nursing homes and stocking food pantries, there is no limit to the many acts of charity and kindness that are undertaken as part of the Catholic school experience. But over the next few weeks, the 31 Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Trenton will be dedicating themselves to a single service project, and the beneficiaries will be sick children, their families and caregivers in hospitals spanning Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

This year, the Diocese’s Catholic Schools Day of Service – an annual effort first launched in 2015 – will feature the collection of gift cards and new items that will be donated to participating hospitals with the aim of making time spent there by young patients and their families more comfortable and pleasant. With the key focus of kids helping kids, the 2018 campaign has as its theme “Hearts to Hospitals: Hearts to Lead – Hands to Help.” Students began the collection effort March 22 by enlisting the support of their families, their parish communities and business persons within their wider communities.

Collections will conclude by April 27, the official Day of Service, when students in all of the schools will work together to assemble the donated items and package them into gift bags for the hospital patients. Those packages will then be delivered to the participating hospitals the week of April 29.

The Diocese sponsored a logo contest to help raise awareness about the campaign. A slideshow sampling some of the hundreds of entries is now running on diocesan media.

Anyone interested in supporting “Hearts to Hospitals: Hearts to Lead – Hands to Help,” is invited to bring new items or gift cards to the designated drop-off site at each local Catholic elementary school in the Diocese. Go to dioceseoftrenton.orgfor a listing of Catholic schools in the Diocese. You can also follow this campaign on social media by searching for #hearts2hospitals and #dotdayofservice2018.

For more information on this effort, contact Judy Nicastro, Department of Catholic Schools, at (609) 403-7217;

Suggested Day of Service Collection Items

All items should be new. Books, Puzzles, Puzzle books, Stuffed animals (no bigger than eight inches), Coloring books/crayons, Markers, Pencils, Games, Small toys,Arts and crafts, Card games, Squishy toys, Packaged fidget spinners, Fidget cubes, Small lego type sets, Individually wrapped candy, Granola bars, Individually wrapped bags – peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. Gift cards – All types of gift cards are accepted: restaurant, fast food, gasoline, convenience store, Itunes, Amazon, grocery stores, coffee places, book stores, etc.

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