Christmas came early for many underprivileged people this past Sunday, Dec. 11 as Cathedral Prep’s Key Club hosted its 27th annual Christmas dinner for people who are homeless. Toys (for the children), warm meals, new socks, exciting books and much needed company was provided from noon until 4 p.m. for anyone in need. The dinner is always a highly anticipated event for everyone involved as it capped off the perfect weekend for the school. Fresh off of the second state football title in four years and another very successful night of “Box Village,” many Ramblers still were able to lend a helping hand to over 1,000 people throughout the community.
Volunteers began to arrive in the Cathedral Prep cafeteria around 10:30 a.m. to prepare for the event. Decorations, continued food preparation and toy setups were in the works and right on track. Beautiful flowers and Christmas headpieces were generously donated by Allburn Florist. Additionally, many parents stayed around and decided to help as needed to ensure the process went as smoothly as possible. Right around noon, the doors were opened, and people happily entered, being greeted by two out of the many student volunteers present. People of all races, ages, sizes and backgrounds came together as one and were able to enjoy a warm, peaceful meal and celebrate their Christmas.
Despite the lack of familiarity with many, students embraced the event and conveyed their own personal positivity and traditional Christmas spirit with those who may not be accustomed to it. It truly showed as the boring, old, everyday cafeteria was transformed into a vibrant environment filled with a diverse community that came together as one to celebrate one of the largest holidays of the year. Sophomore volunteer Tim Klebanski reflected on his experience saying, “It was a really good experience for everyone there. Being able to help the needy and also grow closer with our brothers through service is something I will never forget.”
Although it was a very unorthodox Christmas looking in from the outside, it made a lasting impact on many individuals on both sides of the spectrum. Many of the people who attended were football fans and got a chance to sit down and talk with several members of the state championship football team. The joy and happiness in their eyes was truly something special. The sound of children shouting in excitement reached every part of the room as Mr. Alexa came storming in the door dressed up as Santa Claus. All the little things just added up to make an insurmountable impact on all involved.
As the people began to disperse around 4 p.m., goodbyes were said, and food was put away. It was all smiles for Mr. Parsons, head of Key Club as he happily recalled. “It is an absolutely wonderful way of living out our Catholic mission and showing how much we care about those in need throughout our community,” he said. “It helps us truly appreciate what blessings we have, especially around this time of year and allows us to give back to those who need it most.”
Although it didn’t quite replicate how a typical Christmas is spent, it is the sad reality for many. It is this time of year in which we all can take a step back and just be thankful for all of the blessings we have in our lives. Even though vibrantly decorated Christmas trees, beautifully wrapped gifts and the anticipation of Christmas morning are all awesome things to look forward to during this time of year, let’s not forget the real meaning of Christmas and those that are dearest to us. This event was not merely done to continue a school tradition, but to truly impact the lives of many who need our help.