Saturdays are typically uneventful at St Jude’s. Boarding students usually spend the weekend catching up with their studies, taking extra ESL lessons or engaging in extracurricular activities and sports.
However, the Saturday of November 12 was unusually lively. St Jude’s Sisia Campus was bustling with action as students inspected and carefully loaded a specially prepared lunch and hundreds of packs of food to be distributed to the elderly community.
At the centre of the action were Goodluck and Diana, Head Boy and Head Girl at St Jude’s Secondary School.
A few months ago, Goodluck and Diana organised a campaign to help members of the elderly community in Arusha who were struggling with the rising costs of food.
“We had an ambitious goal of helping 400 elderly people in need during this year’s St Jude’s Day,” recalls Goodluck. “With help from our international supporters and St Jude’s community, we reached our target,” he adds proudly.
To help the elderly, Goodluck and fellow student leaders created a St Jude’s Day Essentials Pack, a special package consisting of a variety of staple food items to be delivered to the elderly in need.
Many of the items were donated on St Jude’s Day by St Jude’s staff and students. In order to complete the 400 packs with maize and missing items, our international supporters had an opportunity to donate towards a St Jude’s Day Essentials Pack and help provide a special lunch.
As students made their way out of St Jude’s to finally meet members of the elderly community and deliver the gifts, their enthusiasm was palpable as they sang on the bus journey.
After a 15 minutes’ drive to one of the poorest residential areas in Arusha, St Jude’s students were met with hundreds of members of the elderly community, who gladly welcomed them. After exchanging warm greetings and introductions; students proceeded to interact with the elderly in the best way they knew.
“A community lunch is a great way to cultivate social interaction,” says Diana, Head Girl at St Jude’s Secondary School. “It always works like a charm!” she adds with a smile.
On this occasion, Diana was manning serving tables making sure every elderly member present enjoys a plate of food and a drink.
“My job was to make sure the elderly people have the best day possible,” said Diana. “I couldn’t think of a more fulfilling activity,” she adds with a smile.
After lunch, the next activity was the handover of St Jude’s Day Essentials Packs.
St Jude’s students unloaded hundreds of packs and proceeded to personally hand them over to the elderly members. It was an emotionally touching moment, with several elderly members uttering words of blessings and gratitude as they received the gifts.
“God bless you my sons and daughters,” they said, deeply moved by the kindness and generosity of the students.
The feeling was visibly mutual, as students responded with warm remarks and kindness; offering a hand to help by carrying their gifts.
For some elderly members of the community, travelling was not an option for them. So our St Jude’s students personally delivered almost 150 lunch boxes and packs to the homes of the elderly that were housebound.
For the past few months, this community of elderly members has been battling the effects of rising costs of living that have plagued the country. Today was a much-needed break from their problems as they enjoyed a full day of social interaction, community lunch, and a gift pack to take home with them. It is undoubtedly a day they will remember for many years to come.
It is also a proud moment for St Jude’s students as they personify the school’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, and Kindness in taking the initiative to address a problem in their community.
A big thanks to our supporters who purchased a St Jude’s Day Essentials Pack and helped students fulfil their mission.