When students at Holy Childhood Catholic School in Mascoutah meet at 7:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of every month to make sandwiches, they don’t know who will receive them.
When Felix McGaughy began distributing the sandwiches at the Mary Brown Center in East St. Louis, he didn’t know who had made them or why. He distributes them Monday through Friday to people in need.
Called “Feeding God’s People,” any and all students — including preschoolers, some parents and teachers gather in the cafeteria, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the designated Thursday, bringing bread, meat and cheese that is used to make the sandwiches.
They make as many sandwiches as they can, averaging about 900 a month, and principal, Claudia Dougherty, takes them to Pat Hogrebe, executive director of the Belleville/East St. Louis Council of St. Vincent de Paul.
Hogrebe takes them to McGaughy and also to Cosgrove’s Kitchen for distribution.
Students described the program as “awesome.” Teacher, Kathy Renth, said students hear about the many ways they can give to help others less fortunate, and this is one of those ways.
“I like knowing it goes from the table it was made on to the hands of a hungry adult or child,” student Bella Harlan said. Students didn’t seem to mind that they had to get to school early, and they were all motivated to make the sandwiches. Since August, Dougherty said she has delivered 5,403 sandwiches to Hogrebe.
McGaughy said he sees distributing the sandwiches as what he needs to do. “Jesus Christ said this is what I need to do.” Those receiving the sandwiches may live in some of the empty buildings or under the overpasses. “A lot of them are homeless,” he said. Hogrebe said Holy Childhood students “pretty much support this ministry.” Student Alyssa Housley said “it’s important to do Feeding God’s People so we can help those less fortunate than us.
Students at Holy Childhood have been “Feeding God’s People” for about four years. Teachers wipe the tables down before they begin, and everybody helps clean up. “Because God loves everyone,” student Emily Reinneck said, it would be upsetting for Him to know that not all of his people are getting a meal to eat. My school is doing a great job to help feed God’s people.”
Student Ella Fournie said she likes participating because “I can change a person’s life with two pieces of bread and a slice of ham and cheese.”