amidst pandemic, crusaderS serve the needy

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Nicolas Valladolid ’23

Despite the pause on the community service requirement, Strake Jesuit students have continued to help the community during the pandemic. 

Since March of 2020, Covid-19 has put America in a perpetual state of lockdown, making it difficult for people to work and visit loved ones. Our community is currently suffering through a wave of mass unemployment and poverty forcing many to look to the community for aid. In an effort to provide light during the pandemic, Strake Jesuit students have continued to volunteer.

“The Main reason why I chose to volunteer is because I really wanted to help out the community in a safe way, especially during the COVID situation,” Sophomore Jackson Cordes said.

Jackson, like many other students, decided to help the elderly. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly changed the way service can be done. 

“I performed a virtual piano Christmas concert at a retirement home via Zoom,” Jackson Cordes said. “I think that the opportunity I had to perform in this event was very unique, as it was being done online.”

Many community members are having trouble adapting to quarantine. Community service during these times gives people light at the end of the tunnel.

“I have been performing pretty much every year at this location in person for the past six to seven years, and it always made me glad to give these people a nice thing to look forward to as they don’t have a whole lot going on I imagine,” Jackson said. “When the opportunity came up to perform again online, I immediately signed up, wanting to help give these people something to look forward to in quarantine, especially during the holiday season.”

Helping the elderly has been especially hard during the pandemic; however, they are one of the groups that need the most assistance.

“I think a lot more attention needs to be given to the elderly during these times, as they are most often at risk,” Jackson said. “More virtual online meetings would be nice. Just spending quality time with them by talking to them or playing dominoes goes a long way.” 

Thankfully, despite the pandemic situation, organizations that help families in need are still able to operate.

“Given the number of people displaced because of lost jobs, or other factors affected by COVID, many are dependent on food sustenance as well as managing families,” Mr. D’Souza, SJ Service Projects Coordinator, said. “Thanks to the Houston Food Bank, as well as food banks around the suburbs, many families are able to receive some form of help. We are fortunate as a school, to be able to continue running our monthly food drives on campus, via the Houston Food Bank, to provide some support to families in need around our community. Luckily, thanks to the support we receive from the students and their Dads’ that volunteer, we are able to sort and distribute food items to those that come to receive it.”

The current situation makes service more needed than ever. Strake Jesuit students are in a unique position to give back to the community.

“Service is an integral part of who we are as a school community, keeping alive the Jesuit identity of being contemplatives in action,” Mr D’Souza said. “As long as the student volunteer feels safe, it does not hurt to be a beacon of hope to others.”