"If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3: 17-18)
A couple of weeks ago, one of our families lost almost everything in a house fire. It was devastating. I can remember getting a phone call late on that Sunday night. The caller told me that she saw a house-fire on Facebook and she thinks that the house belonged to one of our families. I was shocked and concerned. I prayed. I called around, while my wife tracked the story on the internet. Eventually, after finding out that the family was safe and had a place to stay, I went to bed.
The next day, one of our staff members suggested that we open up the school to collect donations for the family. So, we put a message on our Facebook page that said we were collecting donations and we found a big box and put it in the hallway. What happened next surprised all of us. Our school community, and the community of St. Thomas at large, demonstrated their care for this family through hundreds of donations. It was unbelievable. The box we set up in the hallway wasn't big enough. Our stage wasn't even big enough. We have collected enough furniture to refurnish the home the family will be staying in. We have collected lots of clothing, food (gift cards and non-perishable items), and necessities. All of this has been overwhelming and I know that the family is extremely grateful for everything that has been done.But this is only half of the story. Obviously, our school focuses on providing an outstanding education for our students. We spend a lot of time and effort on preparing quality lesson plans, strong educational programs and valuable assessments. However, I believe that we teach our students more with our actions than our words. By caring for a community member in need, we have demonstrated to our students how to show God's love to our community. Let's just say our students were watching our actions and learning. It started one morning when one of our parents gave me a "small," cash donation towards the cause. She explained that when her children heard all that had happened, they wanted to give all of the money that they had in their piggy banks. These young students sparked a flame in many of our students. Soon, we had several more donations from other students who wanted to give to the cause. It made me proud to see our students being such good neighbours.