One committed corporate donor generously provided PIZZA KITS, filled to the brim with ingredients and chef hats so our Shelter families could engage in a COVID-relief fun activity, but this beautiful and simple act of creativity provided so much more.
Our families had something to look forward to and talk about all week. Moms had a time of unburdened freedom to bond with their kids. Pizza participants shared joy and laughter all evening! Each baker experienced a sense of accomplishment and capability. Excellent pizza was enjoyed by all. Beyond that and best of all are the magnificent memories created that will last a lifetime!
Thank you to ALL of our donors for loving our Guests.
On a class visit to Lazarus House, seventh graders Gauri Kumar and Joeyanna Hodnett developed a brilliant idea. A way to reuse technology to help the Guests of Lazarus House.
Every year, the Pike School seventh-grade class does a food drive. This year, after the food drive the seventh-grade class took a tour of Lazarus House. “It was pretty amazing to visit Lazarus house,” Kumar said. The seventh-grade class had never gone to visit Lazarus House before this trip. “We were walking through the study area and there were kind of old computers there,” said Kumar.
At Pike School, iPads become mandatory in the sixth grade. “I thought about how much technology has helped with learning, and I wanted to get technology to help other people learn too,” Kumar said.
Kumar thought of her sister’s unused iPad at home. “We thought we could do something [with the iPad] and use it,” Hodnett said. From this thought, Hodnett and Kumar developed the idea of Tech for Hope. Taking unused technology, iPads, laptops, computers, etc. and donating them to Lazarus House.
Tech for Hope began taking donations at Pike School. The tech donors follow links given by Tech for Hope and follow instructions to get their technology as if it were brand new, without any customizations. Then Hodnett and Kumar deliver the donated technology to Lazarus House for their Guests.
“Technology opens so many doors for people. You can do a job application and many other things,” Hodnett said. “Technology has opened doors for us. We want to give others the access to open those doors as well,” said Kumar.
Tech for Hope began receiving donations right before the coronavirus pandemic. Due to restrictions, Kumar and Hodnett have been unable to deliver their technology donations to Lazarus House. “We have a few donations but haven’t been able to give them to Lazarus House yet, due to COVID-19,” Hodnett said.
“We would really like to get more donations; so many people need them,” said Hodnett. “The more [donations] we get, the more we can give.” Hodnett and Kumar plan on continuing Tech for Hope in the future. “We don’t want to stop one day. We want it to keep going as long as we can,” said Hodnett.
If you would like more information or would like to donate to Tech for Hope, contact Tech for Hope Faculty Advisor Julie Ogden at email@example.com or Gauri Kumar at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is a common thread to the families that give time and money to Lazarus House, it is the value of gratitude implanted in one generation and then passed to the next.
“It’s our responsibility to try to level the playing field a little bit. My parents really tried to instill in me a sense of responsibility for being a lucky person in that you have to give back to the community,” said Mary Sassin, whose son Leo is one of the youngest donors to Lazarus House.
“When Leo was five, we started giving him an allowance,” his mother said. “I wanted him not only to share his allowance, but to meet people and feel the impact of helping them.”
When Leo, 5, came to Lazarus House in 2016, he had a check for $29.92 from his allowance to give, and what he took back was an understanding that not everyone has advantages in life.
“After we toured Lazarus House together, he wanted to continue to give to them,” Sassin continued. “He talked about what people might not have vs. what some people do have.”
Riley Doherty, also a member of a multi-generational family of giving, first became involved with Lazarus House as a freshman at nearby Central Catholic High School.
“Ending the cycle of poverty and working your way out of it really struck a chord with me,” said Doherty, who says she also learned the importance of gratitude at home.
“My Dad would say, ‘People aren’t poor because they want to be poor’,” she said, then telling the story of her father giving his suit jacket to a man bussing tables at a restaurant, so he would make a good impression at a job interview the next day.
“My dad has always taught us to give generously and be open to everyone,” said Doherty, whose parents followed her lead and began to volunteer with food collections and buying Christmas gifts for families in need. “That passion of giving that I’ve always seen in him is why I have a passion for Lazarus House.”
Doherty, now a Vice-President with Staples, is on the Lazarus House Board of Directors. She has involved Staples in sending employee teams to help in the shelters and with various other needed projects around the Ministry.
Her next generation is already involved.
Daughter Harper Quinn, 4, has joined Doherty in the Lazarus House “Hike for Hope,” every year since she was born and enjoyed meals prepared by the students of the Culinary Training program at their graduation ceremonies.
“She selects the gifts for the kids at Christmas and she knows why we are buying them,” Doherty said. “She knows that some mommies and daddies can afford gifts, but others need help buying gifts. She gets it.”
Riley Doherty and Mary Sassin work to pass to their children a heart of generosity, what Mary calls the “gift from my parents of knowing there is a world beyond my small sphere of it. The more you teach kids gratitude, the more empathetic they are.”