Operation Others =#FaithInAction
This weekend, 1,220 families in need (6,000 people!) will receive donated food thanks to Omaha Metro area Catholic High School students, families and supporters. The annual Operation Others effort began in 1967 and has grown significantly. See below information from Dave Lawler, Director of Campus Ministry at Creighton Prep.
We have representatives from each Catholic High school who make up the Operation Others “Core Team.” This group meets weekly during the fist semester plan fundraisers, food collections, and to prepare for the Delivery Weekend. We also have three big group events each fall where students from all the Catholic high schools are invited to participate. We also need lots of help on the delivery weekend and have students from all of the Catholic High schools help prepare, package, and deliver the food. Each high school has a food drive to contribute one of the items for the food bag. For example, this year Marian collected peanut butter and jelly, Prep collected canned chicken and tuna, and Mercy collected soup, corn, and green beans. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, we have a turkey collection at Prep, Skutt, and Golf-Tech and collect about 800 turkeys.
There is a strong relationship between Catholic Charities and Operation Others. The Juan Diego Center and Christ Child North enroll about a third of the families served by Operation Others. These are the families that are part of the Christmas program at Juan Diego and Christ Child North. Schools also work with Catholic Charities to set up a Call-In Day where families can call on the first Saturday of November to enroll in the program. Fliers about the call-in day are available in the Catholic Charities food pantries each fall and on the call-in day, the students take calls from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and enroll more than 700 additional families in the program. I think it is important for parishes and schools to have a strong connection with the work that Catholic Charities does in our community. I think that it is neat that Omaha’s eight Catholic High Schools work in partnership with Catholic Charities to provide food assistance to over 1,200 families each Christmas.
“Operation Others offers a unique opportunity to gather all the Catholic high schools of Omaha in a collective project to serve the marginalized of our city. Each of our schools promotes service to others, but Operation Others allows us to participate in that mission collectively. Not only do students get involved, but families are encouraged to help with packing and delivery. It is a wonderful reminder of the importance of community, relationships, and the meaning of Christmas,” said Frances Swanson, Operation Others moderator at Duchesne.
Even more details and pictures are posted to the Operation Others Twitter page (@OperationOthers). CLICK HERE for a brief synopsis of the history of Operation Others. This program is one of many that showcase our students’ efforts to #beKind – and to become servant leaders within their community. For more on the value of Catholic high school, please see our recent superintendent blog post.