EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. — Students at Evergreen Park’s Most Holy Redeemer Catholic School were hard at work on Friday morning, taking part in a lesson that is unlike any other this school year.

Students from Pre-kindergarten to 8th grade spent their morning working hard at helping others during the school’s Day of Giving.

This year’s Day of Giving was all about Evergreen Park Food Pantry. Students collected food and personal hygiene products, loaded them onto trucks and sent them off to the food pantry where they were put on shelves, ready for distribution.

“I thought it was cool to experience that I’m not the only one. There are other people who have different lives,” 8th grader Keira Cushing said.

Food Pantry director Mark Phelan, who is also a deacon at Most Holy Redeemer, says there is a real need for the supplies.

During the middle of Covid. We were serving 120 cars every Friday,” said Phelan. “120 families every Friday. We have a drive-up service for people where people drive up, show us their ID, we pop the trunk, we fill the trunk with food and we send them on.”

The Day of Giving is also about raising funds to help Most Holy Redeemer remain open at a time when other catholic schools have had to close because of dwindling enrollment.

School Principal Dan Turney says it fits in with the school and church’s mission of giving and mercy.

“Perfectly exemplifies what we preach to our kids to have faith in God and help others,” Turney said.

The food is distributed on Fridays, so at the end of the day, the combined effort will fill the stomachs of those who depend on the nutritious and delicious pantry goods.