When High Schoolers Meet Homelessness

 From the Newberg Graphic:

St. Paul High School doesn’t only produce top-notch football players. Last week students from the school’s Future Business Leaders of America club delivered hundreds of pounds of clothes, toiletries and food to the Portland Rescue Mission, then volunteered their time.

And by volunteering we mean they got on their hands and knees and scrubbed.

“I was with a group of 10 girls and we scrubbed a couple hundred chairs,” junior Tessa Brentano said. They also scrubbed floors and performed light maintenance such as replacing worn light bulbs. They also made paper chains to hang around the chapel and installed Christmas decorations. 

The group also received a tour of the facility and were surprised that the men who bunk there can fit all their belongings into a milk crate. “I learned that there is not very much in life for some people,” said sophomore Nicole Brentano, who added that she shouldn’t take things for granted.

Sophomore Joe Torres said he was somewhat surprised when one of the men he was talking to had no food preference, but rather was simply glad to have something to eat. “There are people who need help that you wouldn’t think would,” he said, after learning that one of men he worked with was a recovering addict.

The students shared a meal with some of the men served by the rescue mission and found out that it’s important to learn their names. Tessa Brentano said it’s really important for those men because they have nothing else and their identity is wrapped up in their names.

She added that they also learned that most of the homeless were so because they were bad at making relationships last and when they were in a difficult position they had no one to help them. “Keeping relationships is what keeps you safe,” she said.

St. Paul delivered a total of 543 pounds of clothes, 106 pounds of toiletries, 316 pounds of food, seven sleeping bags, 12 blankets and $215 in cash. Torres said that once students were told who would benefit from the donations they generously gave to the FBLA club.

Thank you, St. Paul FBLA club for your generous gift of time and donations!