Friday, September 22, 2017
Toni Jane Pallatto - St. Theresa School (Little Flower)
CORAL GABLES | Although Coral Gables residents spent quite a few days without power after Hurricane Irma, the parents, teachers and students of St. Theresa School turned their suffering into an offering of help to others — just as their patroness, St. Therese of the Little Flower, taught.
No sooner had Hurricane Irma struck, parent Juan del Cerro asked the school’s principal, Carmelite Sister Rosalie Nagy, if the school would support a drive to help families in deep south Dade and the Keys. Del Cerro is the father of three St. Theresa students, Gabriela, Carolina and Santiago, and husband of eighth-grade teacher Jennifer Torrent.
Of course, Sister Rosalie replied.
Another volunteer, Osvaldo Guerra, helped to rent a 17-foot truck as school parents announced the drive through social media.
“We are collecting non-perishable food, water, diapers, blankets, toys, clothes and other necessities for those who have little to nothing left,” said del Cerro. “We are coordinating with local elected officials to bring the goods to Homestead in a staging area, and then, from there, the goods will be distributed to those in need.”
Parents and students rallied to the call for the two-day collection, which started Sept. 19 as students arrived at 7:30 a.m. By 9 a.m., the truck was filled, and items continued to pour in.
“We will make one delivery today so the truck is empty and ready to receive more items tomorrow,” said del Cerro.
“Students had smiles on their faces as they made their donations,” said Sister Rosalie, a member of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.
She noted that many school families “still do not have their power on, but they can still lend a helping hand. It’s a learning experience for our students in service to others.”
It’s also a reminder, she said, that, just like St. Therese, “in little ways … [we] can make a difference in the lives of people that have nothing left.”