It’s Christmas morning. Families wake up, put on slippers, head to the kitchen to get some hot chocolate, and then, hurry to the tree to see if Santa has come yet.
Sadly, some families in the New Orleans community struggle to make this a reality. In order to make Christmas happen for as many families as possible, Dominican participates in the Adopt-a-Family program to help others during the holiday season.
Dominican organizes gift donations to deliver presents to families that struggle to get gifts on their own. Each December, students from all grades bring gifts to school that were then delivered to the different places Dominican donates to. This past Christmas, locations included St. Mary of the Angels Early Head Start, St. Augustine Church and the Metro-Women’s Domestic Violence Shelter. “By donating the gifts, Dominican hopes to bring the joy of the season to the families the program helps,” said Campus Minister Ms. Claire Gallagher.
With the help of the entire student body, Dominican provided 185 individuals with Christmas gifts this year, said Ms. Gallagher. “The program is a reminder of how we are a body of many parts,” said Ms. Gallagher, “and the impact that over 900 people’s donations make compared to a small group shows that working together makes a huge difference.”
The Christian Leadership Council vice president, senior Sabrina Nguyen, agrees. “The Adopt-a-Family program is an amazing way to give back to the community and create a merry Christmas for many families,” she said.
The Adopt-a-Family program is a clear way to live the gospel, according to Ms. Gallagher. “John 13:34 says, ‘I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you,’” said Ms. Gallagher. Through the program, the Dominican community gets to “love our neighbors by collecting gifts to donate during the Christmas season, which is a direct way to live out the gospel in our daily lives,” she added.
Ensuring that each person in the family gets a gift is a key aspect of the program. Students buy gifts for children, mothers and fathers. Some gifts purchased during the Christmas program included bikes for girls and boys as well as gift cards and clothes for parents.
“The Christmas season evokes a strong want to give,” said Ms. Gallagher, “and it is important because we live in a world that is easy to focus on ourselves all the time where this reminds us it is not all about us.”
- Brooklyn Comeaux