Shown are packages of diapers that the student community in St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, collected in January.
Shown are packages of diapers that the student community in St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, collected in January.
Whether they were Luvs, Huggies, Pampers or even private label and store brand names, Catholic high school students from around the Diocese spent part of January collecting packages of diapers for families with babies and young children in need. The overall number of diapers reached into the thousands.

The high schools were invited to participate in the diaper drive that was coordinated by the Diocese's Department of Catholic Schools and Catholic Athletes for Christ for the second consecutive year. And, according to Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, diocesan superintendent of Catholic Schools, the collection turned into a friendly competition to see which school would collect the most. The “winning” school was Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, that collected more than 26,000 diapers. “As such," he said, Notre Dame received a "bonus" allocation of diapers to be given to their cause that came from a separate donation that was received at the diocesan Chancery.

In Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, the Catholic Athletes for Christ program sponsored a diaper drive from Jan. 17-Feb. 2.

“We asked each sports team for support and [that] support quickly spread throughout the school,” according to Ken Oliver, CAC moderator. It didn’t take long before collection bins, practice spaces and classrooms overflowed with 170 packages, totaling more than 6,500 diapers.

On Feb. 8, Oliver said that students from the CAC Leadership Group delivered 60 packages to Seeds of Service in Brick Township, while another 101 packages went to The Open Door Pregnancy Center in Toms River. The remaining packages were donated to the food pantry sponsored by St. Joseph Parish.

“Volunteers from each of these organizations were thrilled with our donations and grateful for our support,” Oliver said. “We are delighted with the school-wide support and are so thankful we had the opportunity to support families with babies and young children by helping to alleviate the financial burden associated with the cost of diapers.”

Generosity prevailed in Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, where the all-boys school participated in the Diocese of Trenton’s Supporting Mothers Drive as a service component held during the observance of Catholic Schools Week Jan. 30-Feb. 5.

Student Ben Tortorici said that in addition to collecting the diapers, other items collected included baby wipes, baby powder, formula, clothing for both mothers and children and gift cards. All supplies were sent to the Monmouth County Diaper Bank as well as a few area women’s shelters.

“Through Catholic Charities, we assisted a couple who came over from Haiti three months ago and are expecting a baby boy at the end of March,” Tortorici shared. He added that the father just started a new job, and the couple is residing with a friend.

“They had nothing” when they came to New Jersey, he said.

Reflecting on how the Catholic Athletes for Christ chapters in each school joined forces with pro-life clubs, Tortorici said, “This combined effort highlights the importance of the Church’s pro-life teaching with practical support and charity.

“As brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, this message is celebrated in word and deed through CBA’s participation in this year’s Supporting Mother’s Drive!” he said.

There was strong collaboration to help mothers in need taking place between the CAC and Caseys4Life Club in Red Bank Catholic High School Jan. 28. Deb Flego, Caseys4Life moderator, explained that on Jan. 28, the two clubs worked together to “celebrate the sanctity of human life” by sponsoring the diaper drive and hosting a Witness for Life in which students prayerfully and peacefully held a walk around the school campus.

Flego noted that Deacon Matt Nicosia, who heads the MCDB, was present for the Witness for Life and also brought a truck for the students to load their collected items. At that point, Deacon Nicosia was able to deliver 3,800 wipes and 3,250 diapers to the MCDB as well as several other organizations and individuals in need.

“Our Cathletes had a great time working with Caseys4Life on the diaper drive this year,” said Seton Smith, an RBC senior and CAC participant.

“It was so inspiring to see our RBC community come together to support such a worthy cause. I was so grateful for the experience of meeting Deacon Matt and seeing the work that he does,” Smith said.

Junior Alexa Gatta noted feeling “accomplished” when she saw the number of diapers collected by the RBC community.

“I felt like the school really came together for a great cause,” she said, adding that the Witness for Life “really connected us as a school to stand up for something so important.”

Meeting Deacon Nicosia was especially meaningful, Gatta added. “Talking with him really opened my eyes and saw how connected we are as Catholics. Catholics from all over will come together and unite to stand up for lives who cannot stand up for themselves.”

Similar collaboration was seen around St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, which had a school-wide effort coordinated with Campus Ministry, Catholic Athletes for Christ and Student Activity clubs "all pulling in the same direction for life," according to Patrick Smith, assistant athletic director, campus minister, director of Christian Service and CAC coordinator.

He said that the senior service students and CAC members delivered diapers through the Campus Ministry to area agencies, Catholic Charities in Red Bank and Project Paul in Keansburg.

"They will help families in crisis and need in our Monmouth County Bayshore area," Smith said. "Our SJV community answered the call to be defenders of life in all of its forms through this noble diocesan initiative."