The preferential option for the poor is a key element of Catholic Social Teaching and here at SJF, we are passionate about helping our local and wider community. Students are encouraged to take a lead role in opportunities for social justice, working with charities such as CAFOD and more local charities such as Gillingham Street Angels. To ensure student understand the relevance of our Catholic Social Teaching principles of such events, the chaplain delivers assemblies about the purpose of such fundraising events, explaining how the students’ involvement makes an impact.
This year alone has seen the following events:
Students undertook a ‘Month of Kindness’. In this challenge, students recorded daily acts of random kindness that they carried out for those who are less fortunate. Students who participated were awarded certificates which commended them for their kindness. Recognising the Catholic Social Teaching theme of ‘Dignity for all’ is at the foundation of our Catholic Faith, and in all that we do and stand for, as a Catholic school. Staff felt that recognising these wonderful acts of kindness should extend beyond a month and therefore continue to make similar awards to students.
Our Medway Shoe Box Appeal, which annually collects donations for those who are less fortunate, goes from strength to strength. The response from staff, students and parents continues to be excellent. This year, our Duke of Edinburgh students helped to pack up enormous amount of donations. Once again, this an excellent example of how our students are living their life through their faith.
Our annual CAFOD World Gifts charity event continues to invite our community to collect ‘small change’ that will make a ‘big difference’ to people who are less fortunate than ourselves. The campaign provides resources for communities in need across the world. These range from small to large value items, for example, school starter packs, uniform packs, livestock and life changing gifts to support our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We continue to support the Cardinal Hume Centre, which supports the homeless people living in Westminster.
Throughout Lent, the RE department collect donations of clothes, toiletries and /or household items for Medway Street Angels.
The Medway Street Angels support up to 70 homeless people in Medway. Amber Gilbert, an alumnus of St John Fisher Catholic School, set up the Medway Street Angels charity three years ago. She saw that the number of homeless people on the streets of Medway was steadily increasing and wanted to do something about it. Along with a few other volunteers, she began collecting donations and meeting to distribute to the homeless. The charity now provides a meal for anyone who is in need twice a week and distributes items to those in need. Please visit http://www.themedwaystreetangels.co.uk/ for more information about the charity.