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3/27/2014 1:22:00 PM
Students eat simpler for Lent - and for shelter
Holy Cross School photo
Students from Holy Cross School make do with peanut butter during Lenten meal.
Holy Cross School photo
Students from Holy Cross School make do with peanut butter during Lenten meal.

This Lent, some students at Holy Cross School in North Portland are opting to give up their tasty lunches from Burrito House and Subway in favor of simpler fare — peanut butter and jelly and apples from the school office. It's a Lenten spiritual discipline but also an act of charity; the money that would have gone for the much-anticipated takeout meals each week will go instead to Community of Hope, a new family shelter supported by churches in North Portland.

Julie Johnson, principal of Holy Cross, encouraged students to take the option by quoting Pope Francis, who has asked Catholics to consider living lives of evangelical poverty.

"Holy Cross wanted to give our middle school students a concrete way to more fully enter into this Lenten season," says Johnson.   

"We can begin to embrace this call by fasting from or 'giving up' material things, including foods, that are superfluous to our basic needs; 'taking up' charitable habits that are directed to helping and caring for others; and 'lifting up' our brothers and sisters who are in need through giving alms, praying and participating in devotional practices," says the school flyer advertising the simple meals.

Theme of the project became, "Give up! Take up! Lift up!"

"I get the simple lunches because it is a good Lenten sacrifice and promise," says Isaac Martin an eighth grader. "It is something different because while I am giving something up, I am supporting the Community of Hope."

Ayden Donley, a fifth grader, calls the simple lunches "a good idea because I am giving to charity and I will be doing it more."

"It helps me understand better what other people are going through by having a simple meal," says Tessa Johnson, a seventh grader. "It also helps people that do not have a lot."

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