Franciscan University’s Chapel Ministries is bringing a whole lot of hippity-hoppity-happiness to kids in need this Easter.
The Easter Bag Project, which is being spearheaded by Chapel Ministries director Robert Palladino and coordinator Pam Salatino, gives back to the surrounding Steubenville community by donating bags filled with toys, books and treats to Urban Mission. Urban Mission then delivers the Easter bags to underprivileged children.
“The chapel has been doing this longer than I’ve been here,” said Salatino. “I’d guess 20 years, maybe.”
Palladino explained, “The idea was the Urban Mission was looking for us to contribute something to the local poor. … So we discussed with them what we could do, and what we came up with was to do a St. Nicholas bag for Christmas and the Easter bags for Easter.”
Many students participate by picking up bags from the chapel office and filling them with Easter goodies. Often households will participate as one of their service projects. The total number of bags filled varies each year.
“Last year we had 400,” said Salatino.
Palladino added, “The chapel is proud to do something for the local community. … My favorite part is to be able to say I did something for the poor. I finally feel like we’re more in tune with our Franciscan roots.”
Palladino explained that there is a goal this year for every department to have more of a Franciscan spirit.
“We (Chapel Ministries) are doing more than any department,” he said.
Gesturing toward the filled Easter bags, Salatino said, “The surrounding community really needs our help. The kids might not get anything else.”
Salatino said that her favorite part of the project is seeing all of the filled bags accumulate as Easter approaches.
“It’s so beautiful to see them all over the chapel office,” she said. “It’s nice to really be able to see our impact.”
The work done by chapel ministries is definitely appreciated. In 2009, Franciscan’s Christ the King Chapel was recognized as Church of the Year by Urban Mission.
“With grateful appreciation for the many long hours and varied talents donated to ministries of compassion and service to the poor, given unselfishly by Christ the King Chapel, the Urban Mission hereby confers upon them special recognition as Church of the Year,” reads the plaque on the chapel office wall.
Palladino said, “The local community is important to us, and we want to have a good relationship with the local community. We want to do something for them because we know Steubenville could use some help. … So this project is a little thing that we get to (do) in our department to give something back.”