Campus Ministry, one of Marist College largest clubs, gives students the opportunity to help the people of Poughkeepsie. “The Mission of Campus Ministry is to help young people grow in their religious lives provides people with opportunities to grow in love by helping others,” said Brother Francis Kelly the Director of Campus Ministry. Campus Ministry and Marist College help the Poughkeepsie area throughout the year, however, during the months of November and December, Campus Ministry is at its busiest with Hunger Month and the Giving Tree.
Campus Ministry helps people throughout the community of Poughkeepsie, especially during the months of November and December during their two biggest events, Hunger Month and Giving Tree. “The two primary vehicles are Hunger Month and the Giving Tree, it is a way for students to put their faith in action,” said Brother Frank. Students are given the opportunity to help their community and strengthen their own faith.
During November, Campus Ministry hosts Hunger Month which is a month-long event based around world hunger. Events of collecting food and money from the Marist community to help out the Poughkeepsie area. As the season of giving approaches Marist is getting ready for the Giving Tree, this is an event where the Marist Community comes together buys essential items and gifts for needy families in the surrounding areas.
“Hunger Month and the Giving Tree are spectacular projects on campus because it gives the Marist community the ability to directly put a smile on a child’s face,” said Advisory Board Member for Campus Ministry and current Marist Senior Mike Duffy.
The Marist Community enjoys participating in Hunger Month and in the Giving Tree, eager to help the people of Poughkeepsie, their shared community. “It’s a tremendous way for everyone to give back in this beautiful season of giving,” said Duffy.
Though Hunger Month and Giving Tree are massive events, they are not the only opportunity for Marist students to help out the community of Poughkeepsie. Community service opportunities with the local schools and other various organizations are readily available through both Campus Ministry and The Marist Praxis Project for Public/Global Citizenship.
“The Marist Praxis Project for Public/Global Citizenship, named by the Templeton Foundation, is one of the best programs in the country for promoting citizenship,” said Dr. Mar Peter-Raoul Director of the Marist Praxis Project for Public Citizenship. “It has established about 20 local sites at which students integrate service with their course work, at soup kitchens, tutoring sites, environmental sites, the Children’s Home, Grace Smith House, CareNet to name a few.”
Partnering with Campus Ministry, the Praxis Program also moves across borders to countries like Mexico and Haiti to help the global community, “Another establishment is Global Outreach, where students work with the Marist Brothers in Mexico during Spring Break,” said Peter-Raoul. “In addition to local sites, the Public Praxis Project has established global sites. Students have worked among people living and working at a corner dump in Kolkata, and many students have worked with the HELO Orphanages in Haiti.”
Students enjoy the experience of helping the Poughkeepsie community and the global community, “I love working with the community because it is not only fun and personally rewarding but it spreads happiness like a chain reaction,” said Duffy.
It is exciting to know how involved the students want to help not only during these months of giving and thanks, but all the time. Volunteering their time to help the misfortunate is something that Brother Frank has been looking to instill in the members of Campus Ministry, “The development of a person’s faith life is the primary mission of Campus Ministry.”
Campus Ministry wants to help the people of the surrounding area and they could be more excited with how the Marist students have reacted to the helping of others. “It feels really good to help these people,” said Duffy.
Brother Frank looks at these opportunities through the eyes of the commandments, “Love of God and Neighbor, these faith groups give students a chance to act on their faith.” These opportunities give the community of Marist the chance to spread good will and act on their faith. Something that makes organization like Campus Ministry and The Marist Praxis Project for Public/Global Citizenship extremely happy and proud of their students.