Read on Wilmington Town Crier
WILMINGTON — As part of St. Thomas’s confirmation requirement, five Wilmington girls raised $3,600 for Food For The Poor to build a house in Nicaragua.
Ryan Bailey, Kaitlin LeBlanc, Julia McLaughlin, Sophia Novak, and Megan Santry, all sophomores at Wilmington High School and members of St. Thomas Church, began fundraising two years ago after a priest from Food For The Poor visited mass at St. Thomas.
“They did little things over the course of the two years: the bake sales, the lemonade stands, a carwash. Every few months they’d do something,” said Karolyn LeBlanc, mother of Kaitlin LeBlanc. “And they never wanted to ask for donations. That was part of it — they only wanted to do things where they were doing something to earn the money. If they had asked for donations, they could have done it within a couple months.”
When the girls began the project, the cost to build a house in a developing country was $3,200, but that price was raised to $3,600 just prior to them reaching their goal.
“We were shocked and being only five months away from confirmation, we had no idea how we were going to get it all done,” Kaitlin LeBlanc, 15, said. “We had to get past this obstacle and do a lot more work than we had originally planned to do, and thankfully, with the help of the community, and especially a generous family within the CCD program who donated the last $240 that we needed, we were finally able to reach our goal. There is absolutely no way this would ever be possible without the people of this community.”
McLaughlin agreed that the community played a crucial role in the project.
“Wilmington was very supportive in response to our project. Many businesses allowed us to use their property for some of our fundraisers,” McLaughlin said. “I’m so thankful for this opportunity and for our community’s support throughout this project.”
Bailey said that she does community service projects with Wilmington High School’s Rotary Club, but called this project “the most rewarding.”
“I look forward to working with my friends on future projects.”
The girls chose to fund a house in Nicaragua because their donation will be matched, meaning two houses will be built with the girl’s efforts.
“It really means a lot for the five of us because the effect of our service is going to change the lives of families in a third-world country,” Sophia Novak said. “Many people don’t understand how fortunate we are and how easy it can be to give back in such a monumental way.”
Religious Education Director at St. Thomas, Deb Casey, said that all of the 135 students participating in confirmation in late April completed the community service requirement passionately.
“I have to be honest with you, all of them were amazing. They all did it willingly and passionately,” Casey said. “These five girls, however, took on a two year challenge, and they met their goal.”
Bailey, LeBlanc, McLaughlin, Novak, and Santry will present the check to a priest from Food For The Poor following St. Thomas’s 12 p.m. mass on Sunday and it will be donated in memory of Sean Collier, the MIT Police Officer killed by the Boston Marathon bombers.
“I wouldn’t change anything with this project,” McLaughlin said. “I do hope that one day the five of us get the chance to meet the families that will be living in the houses.”