The Spirit of Giving 

Submitted by tadams on Mon, 12/18/2023

By Kacie Renfro 

Every December for the past eight years, with a brief hiatus during COVID, students attending St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan, Connecticut, have partnered with Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Operation Sharing program to bring Christmas cheer to children and families in Eastern Kentucky through Project 1,000. 

Earlier this month, a group of students, mainly juniors and seniors, from St. Aloysius joined CAP employees and local partners to distribute 1,000 stockings and hams in Whitley and Knox Counties.  

“As we pulled up to one home, I saw a little girl peering out the window mouth the words, ‘They're here!’ In a moment, she and her little brother were out on the front porch,” recounted Chris Otis, youth minister for St. Aloysius, about the distribution day. “Their mother told us that they had been waiting for us since 8 that morning and had raced to the window every time a car went by to see if it was us. All the children were so thankful and appreciative.”  

Each year Project 1,000 starts in October with the stuffing of the stockings. Seventh graders from St. Aloysius pack them with items they fundraised to provide, like toys, treats, jewelry, and toiletries. A handwritten letter from the students to the children is also included in each stocking before they are sent to Kentucky for distribution. 

The spirit of this annual event creates happiness and positivity for all involved. The children and families receive hand-delivered gifts from a group of students whose mission is to make a positive impact in the world around them while the students can experience the impact of their project and learn more about the culture and people of Appalachia.  

“Love, joy and faith brings us closer to the Lord and it was something I saw through this experience, which has had an impact on my life,” said Luke Riley, a student from St. Aloysius. “I have met new brothers and sisters and they have helped me learn the importance of service and faith. God has blessed me with this experience, and I feel the change." 

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