St. Edward Outreach assures no child left behind

September 23, 2020

(Editor’s Note: The following was submitted by Susie Fenwick)

St. Edward Catholic Church is an aging parish with a declining membership. In recent years, a common occurrence has been for strings of cars filled with the church faithful to solemnly process behind a hearse from church to cemetery to lay dear brothers and sisters to rest.

In September 2019 a far different procession left the St. Edward Church parking lot. In a welcome change of events, a lively procession of church members with joyful hearts and cars, trucks, and trailers loaded with backpacks, school supplies, nonperishable food items, and toiletries bypassed the local cemetery on the way to the city park for the first No Child Left Behind event benefiting local school children and families.
After the great success of the first event, The St. Edward Catholic Church Social Outreach Group was eager to sponsor the 2nd Annual No Child Left Behind Event. Then adversity reared its ugly head. The event’s super salesman and chief advocate, Ben Davis, passed away suddenly.

With broken hearts, but determined to continue the mission, the Social Outreach Group applied for and received a grant from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro. A school supply drive was conducted each week at church with a particular school supply requested monthly. With a proven event template, momentum was building to make the 2020 2nd Annual No Child Left Behind bigger and better to help more area school children and their families.

Then there was a pandemic. CoVid 19 and social distancing annihilated the tried and true template established for a small church to extend fellowship and charity.

With grant money in hand, access to other resources, and a need to modify the mission to fit the times; members of the St. Edward’s group reached out to local schools to gauge specific needs of school children in the age of social distancing and pandemic.

In response to the needs, 1000 disposable masks were supplied through the generosity of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro to each area school; South Fulton, Fulton Independent, Hickman County, and Fulton County.

Items requested to accommodate special CoVid 19 learning and supplied to South Fulton Elementary School included plastic page protectors, yellow pocket folders, plastic toothbrush holders to be used for pencil holders, wide rule composition tablets, packages of Magic Markers, and 3 ring binders.

Finally, donations to South Fulton Schools and Fulton Independent Schools were made in the amount of $750 each to help fund their Weekend Backpack Food programs.

The 2020 2nd Annual No Child Left Behind event wasn’t much of an event and certainly lacked the fanfare of the 2019 event.

Nonetheless, with input of educators, the generosity of both Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro and members of St Edward Catholic Church, and the adaptability of St Edward Catholic Church Outreach Group; the mission continued to help educators and children and their families navigate the school year with a little more ease in the age of pandemic.