Last Saturday, a group of Upper School students made their way to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Atlanta to work at St. Francis' Table, a soup kitchen that serves more than 500 of our homeless and hungry Atlanta neighbors each weekend.
Led by US chaplain Sarah Wood, the students met on campus, rode MARTA downtown, and began their work immediately upon arrival – at 7 a.m.! “We helped set up tables and chairs, prepared food and iced tea, arranged breads and butters, and received ministry assignments for the day,” according to the Rev. Wood, who plans to continue the service work one Saturday each month during the school year. “St. Francis’ Table has been around for over twenty years and has been, for a good portion of that time, ably led by beloved Ted Davis. But don’t take our word for it, simply show up some Saturday and see what a delight it is to work under Ted’s guidance.”
The Rev. Wood describes a joyous spirit of service among the students involved. “Throughout the day, the students ‘catered’ to the hungry, as senior Jordan Garrett so ably articulated,” she said. Terri Aitkens, the mother of HIES senior Wills, said that the work especially hit home when she saw one of the hungry patrons wearing a Holy Innocents’ baseball t-shirt.
An unexpected HIES visitor was Head of School Kirk Duncan, who checked in on the students mid-morning. “Our Upper School Chaplain, Sarah Wood, has been working throughout the past two years to find an inner city service opportunity for our students,” says Mr. Duncan. “She was intent upon forging a relationship with an organization that provides food to the needy. St. Francis’ Table is a perfect opportunity for our students to be a part of the solution to one of Atlanta’s greatest problems – feeding the poor.”
Mr. Duncan felt the students’ work was not only much needed, but also quite uplifting. “Everyone has something valuable to bring to the task of feeding so many,” he says. “Hunger and poverty are two subjects Jesus taught about. This is a chance for our students to be actively engaged in changing the world. We hope to maintain a relationship with the soup kitchen for years to come.”
The Rev. Wood would like to invite any and all Upper School students to join her for future Saturdays at St. Francis’ Table. “We leave Holy Innocents’ campus by 6:30 a.m. and begin the wondrous pilgrimage of journeying, serving Atlanta’s poor, and, together, becoming all the more the people of God’s imagining.”