CHARLESTON—The Junior Daughters of Peter Claver start reaching out to their community and helping others at an early age.
Rebecca Cox, one of the moms who supervises the group out of St. Patrick Church, said they have 17 girls total, ranging in age from 7 to 18.
Two of the newest members, Emily Pastva and Madison Hudson, both 7, have already been involved in several projects, including the Angel Tree and a fundraising soup sale. Emily said the soup sale was her favorite activity so far because she got to cook with her dad.
For many of the other girls, making and serving food to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House is their favorite outreach. Callia and Leigha Cox, 16 and 13 respectively, said they enjoy the hands-on aspect of the service and being able to see the people they’re helping. The McDonald charity provides rooms for families who have a child in a nearby hospital for a long-term illness.
On a recent bitterly cold Saturday morning, the junior daughters were cooking brunch in the open kitchen of the McDonald house, with plans to lay everything out in hot trays so families could serve themselves when they were ready.
Lily Colwell, 16, worked quietly with her mom Angelica, while Leigha and Callia cooked up pans of sausage. The teens and adults supervised the younger girls as they cracked dozens of eggs, and smiled at their animated chatter as the 7-year-olds discussed whether it actually hurts the eggs to be broken.
Angelica explained that making the breakfast is only part of the outreach. The youth must also apply for grants to help fund the service, which allows them to cook about six meals a year for the families at Ronald McDonald. Another grant helped them provide over 200 bags of food for the families.
The parents said it’s important to involve children. They may start participating in outreach just to be part of the family or church, but as they grow it opens their eyes to the needs of the world and teaches leadership so they start giving on their own.
Several of the older girls have seen the needs of impoverished countries, and participate in outreach through their schools or individually. Callia said she finds the Water Mission’s Walk for Water rewarding because it gives her an idea of what it’s like in third-world communities, where kids and women have to lug heavy buckets of water up to 20 miles a day. Leigha recently applied for a grant to help the Save More Kids organization.
“It’s important that they learn to give back and that they see there are people out there that are in need,” Rebecca said.
Photos by Amy Wise Taylor/Miscellany