“Everyone has that giving side to their personality”

As they peeled potatoes and diced up peppers, two dozen students from Holy Redeemer High School got a lesson that can’t be found in a textbook.

“It’s really humbling because a lot of time we take for granted the food we have and how easy and accessible it is to us,” senior Rebecca Revitt said.

The Holy Redeemer Student Leadership Council volunteered to prepare, serve and clean-up the daily meal at Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, Jan. 4.

“Holy Redeemer always talks about servant leadership so being able to come here and experience it and live out our faith, it is really cool to know we’re making a difference,” senior Marissa Jason said.

The students were joined by Bishop Joseph C. Bambera. After celebrating Mass at the school in September, the Student Leadership Council gifted the bishop a “Day of Service” in his name and the bishop made it a priority to join them for the entire morning.

“He’s such a down to earth guy. He’s really intrigued and interested in our lives,” Revitt said. “It makes us feel like we’re all just one because the bishop is cutting potatoes with us. It’s not a big deal for him.”

“It really demystifies the position of bishop having him here. He’s just a regular man who is serious about his faith,” junior Peter Khoudary said.

Khoudary admitted giving up a Saturday morning to volunteer may not have been an easy decision but he knows his efforts made a difference.

“We have a lot of people that are struggling, especially in Wilkes-Barre, so anything we can do to help is a blessing,” Khoudary said. “Everyone has that giving side to their personality, even teenagers, and doing stuff like this, the more you do it, the more you realize how nice it is!”

The students certainly took notice that the line of people needing a meal at Saint Vincent de Paul started forming more than an hour before the doors opened.

“You don’t really see this side of the community of Wilkes-Barre when you’re at school!” senior class president Carl Yastremski said.

The “Day of Service” is just one of many things that Holy Redeemer students do to help the kitchen.

“Over Thanksgiving, we do a Thanksgiving food drive and this year we helped bring all the stuff over here, we helped unload it out of the truck and there was a lot of it!” Yastremski said.

While volunteering, the students wore maroon t-shirts that displayed a quote from Pope Francis, “To change the world, we must be good to those who cannot repay us.”

The teens say those words have special meaning to them.

“It really inspires us all to keep going and keep doing more community work,” Revitt said.

“It’s honestly such a rewarding experience, especially coming here to see those who are less fortunate and to brighten their day,” senior Lauren Kozicki said.

Most of the students have volunteered at Saint Vincent de Paul before but they say each experience teaches them something.

“It’s so awesome knowing that we’re able to help the community,” Jason added. “When you see the amount of people in need and the children, it really just opens your eyes to the need in the world.”

“It really, truly is a great feeling to help others. Anyone that has ever helped someone out can attest to how well it makes them feel,” Khoudary said.