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'Helping hands' pack meals for Africa

Students create 30,000 meal packs for Catholic Relief Services project in Burkina Faso

MIAMI | Dozens of local students packed over 38,000 meals for the poorest of the poor in Burkina Faso, West Africa, as part of a project to benefit Catholic Relief Services.

Belen Jesuit Prep hosted the event March 30, which was sponsored by the Belen Alumni Association and the Knights of Columbus Miami Council 1726. Students from Belen, Our Lady of Lourdes AcademyCarrollton School of the Sacred Heart, , St. Brendan High and other schools participated in the event.

“This is our fifth year hosting this event and over 100,000 meals have been packed since we started,” said Crescencio J. Ruiz, of Belen’s class of ‘76, who chairs and coordinates Magis Helping Hands. “The continued commitment of our Belen alumni, both in time and treasure, has been the most important factor in reaching the milestone meal count in such a short period of time. Overall, it has been a wonderful partnership with the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Relief Services Professional Advisors Board, who year after year support this great event both with their time and resources.”

“Magis means to strive to do more in sharing the Gospel values, learning and serving,” said Belen Jesuit Principal Jose E. Roca, class of ‘84. “This is one of the core values we teach at Belen and this event exemplifies that. It’s wonderful to see students come together and work side by side with alumni, teachers, parents and students from other schools, all for the greater glory of God.”

The event began at 8 a.m. with a Mass celebrated by Belen’s president, Jesuit Father Guillermo García-Tuñón, in the Roca Theater followed by the meal packing event in the Roberto Goizueta Athletic Center. 

Catholic Relief Services | Helping Hands is a Catholic volunteer and formation event that allows participants to serve their brothers and sisters overseas in a tangible way. Volunteers team up to package meals to send to people who suffer from chronic hunger as a result of cyclical drought and flooding in the African nation of Burkina Faso.

In addition, CRS Helping Hands funds longer term, income-generating projects that allow people in that nation to build a future free from hunger. Another meal-packing event will be hosted April 11, 12 and 13 by Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Miami. For more information, go to 

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