Holiday service encouraged at St. Luke’s Mission

By Nathan Ress
Assistant Features Editor

As the Christmas season approaches, many Canisius students look forward to a well-deserved break from their academic pursuits. While not exactly a white Christmas, students can still look forward to a great deal of festivities in their homes, or with family and friends. Many will be returning home to holiday celebrations, gift giving and meals.

As this break approaches, it is very important that Canisius students remember the less fortunate of the community as they celebrate. According to the United States Census Bureau roughly 30% of Buffalo residents live below the poverty level as of 2013. This is a staggering number for the Queen City, and a sharp reminder that there are those in the community in need of assistance.

As members of a Jesuit Institution, Canisius students should recognize their moral obligation to assist those in need. While we sit around warm fires and hearty meals, we should keep in our thoughts, prayers and hearts those in need. Furthermore, we should act on these obligations, and move to make a real difference in the community.

Canisius regularly serves the community through small groups, immersion trips, charity projects, and group service activities. On the horizon, one of these service opportunities awaits for Canisius students, a Christmas service project at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy. This project will take place on Thursday 17 December from 6:30pm-9:00pm. It will involve the moving of pre-wrapped gifts from a warehouse into St. Luke’s mission to be distributed to their destined families and individuals.

Joe Van Volkenburg, assistant to director of Campus Ministry highly recommends the project to all students. He heralds it as a rewarding social experience as well as service opportunity. Van Volkenburg offers it as a kindhearted and productive break from the stress of finals week.

Furthermore, Van Volkenburg recommends any student take action at St. Luke’s Mission independently over the holiday break. Canisius College has a very good relationship with the Mission and any student is welcome to assist at any time. Simply find any staff member, “announce you are from Canisius, and they’ll put you to work,” Van Volkenburg said. He stressed the easy atmosphere of the place, as well as the benefits of the experience as a whole.

These volunteers will be especially needed as the winter season (or what is currently passing for the winter season) thickens. The Mission is currently run by a dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom live in the shelter themselves, volunteering eight to ten hours daily for their fellows in struggle. Any additional support to the mission would be greatly appreciated, as well as enjoyable to the individual.

St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy is located at 325 Walden Avenue in Buffalo, and as stated previously is always welcoming to Canisius College volunteers. Students are also encouraged to contact Joe Van Volkenburg directly, either by stopping in or emailing. During your holiday season, enjoy the great cheer and community created in celebration, but also remember those who may be struggling at this time of year.

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