Good Shepherd students walk to benefit United Caring Services

By The Message staff

Good Shepherd School eighth-graders James Elpers and Jack Schnarr volunteer often at the United Caring Services homeless shelter in Evansville. They told The Message that they have been visiting the shelter for quite some time to help serve meals and provide other volunteer services, as needed. Jack is a neighbor to a United Caring Services staff member, who reached out to see whether the boys wanted to participate in an international fundraising project that involved walking in the footsteps of the homeless.

Good Shepherd School Principal Kristen Girten shot this photo of the eighth-grade students who participated before they started walking. Photo by Kristen Girten, special to The Messaage

The Coldest Night of the Year is sponsored in the U.S. and Canada by BlueSea Philanthrophy.

James and Jack jumped at the chance – and took it a step further by presenting the idea to Good Shepherd as an eighth-grade service project. The boys, their classmates and the eighth grade’s “kindergarten buddies” hit the pavement of Good Shepherd’s main parking lot on the cold morning of Feb. 25; but not before pausing for prayer.

Eighth-graders and the kindergarten buddies from Good Shepherd School walk laps around the parish’s main parking lot on their way to completing one mile as part of a service project to benefit United Caring Services of Evansville. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

James and Jack distributed laminated prayer cards to their classmates that featured a prayer for the homeless, which they prayed together before heading outside. Before turning things over to Jack, who led the prayer, James had a word for his classmates. 

He said, “As you’re walking outside, take some time to think about all the homeless people who can’t come in out of the cold after 20 minutes.” 

James and Jack told The Message that their goal was to raise $1,500 through donations for the walk. As they marched off into the frigid morning, they told The Message they were confident that they would reach their goal.

Turns out they had nothing to worry about. Through online donations, checks and cash from eighth-grade families, and donations that enabled students to enjoy a free-dress day, they raised $4,014 for United Caring Services. At press time, their effort topped all Evansville-area efforts and is believe to rank in the top five nationally.

We salute them, their classmates and the kindergarten buddies for this living, walking witness of their faith.