Young adults act globally, locally to help the hungry on Lenten day of service

April 12, 2022

About 150 young adults helped both the global Rise Against Hunger project while also packaging food and toiletry bags to give to local homeless people during Young Adult Day of Service on March 26. (Photo by Ryan Lambert)

HOUSTON — Elizabeth Campo combined joy with service joined by 150 young adults helping both the global Rise Against Hunger project while also packaging food and toiletry bags to give to local homeless people.

Young adults in their 20s and 30s were invited to take part in a day of service on March 26 during the Lenten season on the theme “Come to Know Love” organized by the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry.

Campo, parishioner at St. Helen Catholic Church in Pearland, said the event to package rice and soy meals at St. Thomas More Church brought young adults from the Archdiocese’s English and Spanish programs to do service together in one place.

Describing the energy and excitement, Campo said, “There was music, laughing, singing and dancing while we worked together as a team of a hundred-plus to package 25,000 meals for those in underprivileged countries around the world.”

Then in the afternoon, the group had a session to fill bags with granola bars, bottled water and toiletries for local homeless people, she said.

“As I have passed the bags out over the past few days, the individuals have been extremely grateful for them,” Campo said. “The whole day of service was a beautiful witness to the impact that Christ’s love can have on a community.”

Angela Pometto, director for the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry, said, “When we’ve done Young Adult Days of Service in the past, we all came together for a Mass to start the day, and then the whole group would split up and go to 20 different locations in the surrounding area to serve. This year, I wanted to host a service event where we could all stay together in one place and serve as one young adult community.”

“I believe there is real beauty in that unity,” she said. Pometto said the office worked with Rise Against Hunger because it helps worldwide and knows how to host a service event that effectively incorporates numerous volunteers.

“This new format provided some extra time for connection, community and prayer. We were very excited to have all young adults, both English- and Spanish-speakers, working together on one project,” Pometto said.

Francisco Bernal, program coordinator for the Archdiocese’s Vocations office, agreed with combining the English and Spanish programs.

“I’ve been volunteering with the Young Adult ministry, primarily with Hispanics in what is known as Pastoral Juvenil, since 2016,” Bernal said. “I had been looking forward to this event since it was first planned because we were doing the service as one Church rather than separately as we had in the past.”

Bernal said, “I was overjoyed to see all of us together, smiling and getting to know each other while packaging the meals.”

With his home parish being Queen of Peace Catholic Church, he said, “Connecting with not only your culture but also your language, is critical in most Hispanic communities. Many Hispanic young adults, like myself, can find it difficult to leave their comfort zone to attend events that are in English or bilingual. But seeing everyone working together, on the other hand, gave me hope that we will continue to come together as one Church.”

For Emily Sicking of St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land, this was her first young adult service day. “I felt the camaraderie and joy of all working together towards a common goal: to help those less fortunate and serve Christ our King.”

She added, “It was eye-opening to see how many young adults are actually active and willing to serve around the Archdiocese. Sometimes it can feel lonely trying to live seemingly alone in your desire to serve Christ, and I love that I was able to see the power that comes from giving Him your time and energy to do His work!”