St. Thomas students pack 100,000 meals for Haiti

May 11, 2021

St. Thomas High School joined Cross Catholic Outreach to pack 100,000 meals for the hungry overseas. (Courtesy photo)

HOUSTON — St. Thomas High School joined Cross Catholic Outreach to host a two-day food packing event April 20 to 21.

The student body, teaming with faculty and volunteers, worked together to pack 100,000 meals for the hungry overseas. The meals were then shipped to those in need in Haiti, where a single packet of soy-dense Vitafood can feed a family of six.

“It’s amazing to think that in such a short amount of time a relative number of young men can feed so many people,” Dean of Theology Andrew Quittenton said. “When our Eagle community comes together, we can accomplish the extraordinary.”

Students worked side-by-side in Reckling Gymnasium, stuffing then sealing air-tight packets with food, and packing boxes with nutritional meals for the chronically malnourished.

“With all the restrictions surrounding COVID-19, it’s difficult to arrange service opportunities off campus,” Quittenton said. “This is a premium option and an exciting project that involves all our students.”

He said all 600 volunteers were sanitized, wore gloves and hairnets, and handled the supplies carefully.

“I marveled at how the Eagle brotherhood embraced the cause with a great spirit,” Quittenton said. “And fighting hunger has been a particular focus during the fall and spring semesters — homeless packages, a 30-hour fast so that they could relate somewhat to go without a meal. Cross Catholic was the perfect partner to continue this education.”

Cross Catholic Outreach food packing events bring Catholics together to feed hungry children and their families in developing countries around the world.

The food is a nutritious blend of rice, beans, soy and dried vegetables. Volunteers package individual bags of these ingredients to create meals that benefit the poor. A single bag yields six complete meals. Volunteers may be as young as 5 years of age.

St. Thomas first connected with the agency in 2016 for the same food-packing initiative, a coordinated effort aligned with the Basilian mission to educate, advocate and serve those whose lives are afflicted by these poverty-induced conditions.

The association fits perfectly with the school’s long-established relationship with Magnificat House and its Loaves and Fishes program, which provides meals for many of Houston’s hungry and homeless. Affecting short-term relief may fuel long-term solutions that address systemic causes.

Cross Catholic Outreach Senior Director Sandi Pino said, “COVID-19 has increased food insecurity and greatly impacted the vulnerable, especially the ‘poorest of the poor’ in developing countries. Despite the logistical challenges posed by COVID-19, Cross Catholic Outreach has continued during the pandemic to provide the poor with food, medicine and other basic necessities.”

Pino said, “The St. Thomas High School food packing provided a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to serve together in the spirit of Christ to pack nutritious meals for the poor that will nurture their physical self and cultivate their spirit.”

The public may still donate funds to pay for the packaged meals at †