Mercy Home Extends Support for Earthquake Victims

Mercy Home Extends Support for Earthquake Victims

When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing over 50,000 people and injuring over 125,000 more, both our coworkers and young people were both deeply saddened and eager to do what they could to help.

With support from Fr. Scott, our coworkers decided to make this an educational opportunity for our kids, as well as an opportunity for them to give back and help those in desperate need.

“Once again our young people have responded to the pain and suffering of others by reaching out in the spirit of compassion and love,” Fr. Scott said. “As caregivers, mentors, and educators, we want to make sure we afford them the space to give back and encourage empathy.” Fr. Scott noted similar initiatives in response to past disasters abroad, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as those at home, such as the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the 2016 floods in Houston, to name a few.

As in those earlier disasters, acts of service were paired with learning activities. “We wanted it to be an educational effort,” Marc Velasquez, the Director of Milieu Training and Cultural-Spiritual Engagement, said. “We wanted the kids to know about what was happening in regard to the earthquake that took place and the people affected.”

To help the kids learn more about what took place, Veronica Quintero and Gloria Aguilera in the Education and Career Resources department put together PowerPoint presentations that were sent up to program. The kitchens also prepared a meal from the region so that everyone at Mercy Home could celebrate their culture.

Velasquez said that when tragic events like this happen, our kids often have a lot of curiosity around the event, as well as curiosity about what life is like in other countries.

By satisfying that curiosity and helping them learn more, we are helping our kids become more connected with the larger world around them.

“To know that people are suffering, and people have been affected, and then to also know that you are capable of helping someone else’s suffering, I think that really makes [the kids’] perspectives grow and makes their connection to the world a lot bigger,” Velasquez said. “I think that ultimately has a real spiritual impact on who they are.”

Following these education efforts, our young people held bake and candy sales to raise money for earthquake relief. In total, Mercy Home raised $545.67 for Catholic Relief Services in their work to support victims of the earthquake.

Mercy Home youth and coworkers sell baked goods to raise funds for victims of the earthquake.

This kind of fundraising work also fits in well with the Lenten season and pillars of Lent, which include prayer, self-sacrifice (fasting), and acts of kindness and charity (almsgiving).

“A big part of the Lenten journey is making sure we are providing for those who are in need,” Velasquez said. “This is a very clear opportunity where we see a greater need in the world, and we have an opportunity to be able to give and fill that need.”

He also added teaching our kids gratitude and generosity is a key part of the time they spend at Mercy Home.

“[There is a focus on] what is given as a gift should be given in return,” he said. “That in itself has a big impact on anybody who lives that covenant out.”

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