Diocesan News

Aquinas seniors raise funds for well in Nigeria

DAVID CITY (SNR) – Seniors of Aquinas High School in David City held an event called the “All is ‘Well’ Burger Bash” Jan. 30 to raise funds for a well in Nigeria.

The “Burger Bash” offered burgers with chips, desserts and beverages, and was so well attended that they ran out of meat twice and had to replenish supplies to keep up with the eager supporters.

In Nigeria, 57 million people in Nigeria do not have access to clean and safe water, according to WaterAid, an international non-profit organization that works in 37 countries to help poor communities establish sustainable water supplies, safe hygiene practices and sanitation. The current water conditions lead 45,000 children under 5 years old to die each year in Nigeria.

Father Benjamin Holdren, chaplain and senior religion instructor at Aquinas High School, shared facts like these with seniors at the high school in classes on social justice. After learning about the millions of deaths caused by something as basic as clean water, the students decided to do something to help.

“It was a great experience and eye-opening how we can help people in need with just a fundraiser,” said senior Daniel Reiter. “It was great how we all came together as a class and a community.”

After the burger bash, Father Holdren was able to present a $3,000 check to Joseph Williams, the founder of the International Missionary Foundation (IMF).

Williams grew up in horrible conditions and watched his 1-year-old niece die from malnutrition. This experience and many others like it, drove him to build a children’s hospital in the Lokoja Diocese of Nigeria.

The IMF has acquired a structure that will be used as a temporary hospital while the 75-bed Catholic children’s hospital, Isoiza Memorial Mission Hospital (IMMF), is being built. He said the need for a water purification system is of the utmost importance in order for the medical team at the IMMH to serve the poorest of the poor and ill, who currently don’t have access to proper heath care or clean running water.

Another fruit of the social justice class was a recent mission trip to visit Native Americans on the Omaha and Winnebago Reservations in Nebraska. Father Holdren said the students saw first-hand the power of loving those who need love the most.

Aquinas and St. Mary’s Catholic Schools in David City provides students, pre-school through 12th grade, with a Christ-centered learning environment to prepare students for their future involvement in church, family and civic relationships. The schools are owned and operated by the 13 parishes of the Aquinas area, including all of Butler County and parts of Polk and Seward counties.

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