Photo courtesy of Williame Burke
Students from Boston College High School will start up their "helping homeless" program again this fall after a successful first year in the 2011-2012 academic school year.
Started by Quincy resident David Coletti, Walpole resident Paul Howard, Cohasset native Trevor Schramn, and Hanover local Alexander Braun – all of whom will be seniors come fall – the program seeks to provide food for the homeless that wonder around Boston Common.
Several other students, including Andrew Burke of Hingham, will join in every Thursday to find those in need, befriend them, and help them in whatever way they can.
Although the program only ran from January to May last year, this year the program will start in September.
According to William Burke, Associate Director of Communications BC High School, the idea for the program initially came from a study abroad trip to Ireland.
While studying at Belvedere College in Dublin, the students saw that the boys there made sandwiches and went out to common places around town, seeking out and befriending the homeless while providing them food.
The project was named the St. Louis Project after St. Louis of Toulouse, a historically rich man who frequently fed the poor.
Upon returning to BC High, the students decided to start their own St. Louis Project.
It’s a wonderful program, Burke said, and one that exhibits the school’s very motto.
“One of our missions from the St. Ignatius is to be men for others, to care for other people. This was something where the boys saw a chance to do it in action rather than just hear about it an talk about it,” he said. “They went out and did something. It’s living something that’s the mission of the school.”
According to Campus Minister Jessica Meyer, both the school and the students provide for the food.
“The school provides the basics for the sandwiches and the students are asked to stop by the grocery store and pick up something, an apple or snack they can provide as well. It’s going along with the mission of Saint Louis that gave what he had to those in need. The students are using their own resources to help,” she said.
Approximately 33 students participate and go out in groups of ten students at a time, and each student goes through training to discuss basic safety tips and the idea of the mission.
Students then make bagged lunches and set out to find people who are in the common.
“It’s not about the food its about being with people and building relationships with people …and it’s been a tremendous success,” Meyer said. “We’ve had far more students go out than I thought, we have international exchange program – people from Argentina and France went out on the common. We have teachers participate as well, so it’s been a major success for something that was just starting in its first year.”