Twenty religious education students in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania are doing their part to help with relief efforts following the recent earthquake in Haiti.
The students, members of St. Bibiana Catholic Church in Galeton, are sponsoring a breakfast at the church's parish center on Sunday, February 14, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The normal cost is $6 per person; for children ages 6 and under, the cost is $3.
The breakfast is open to the community, and proceeds will be channeled through Catholic Relief Services (http://crs.org/) to help the victims of the disaster, which struck January 12.
Maryann Fisher, one of the teachers in the religious education program at St. Bibiana, spoke to all of the students before the day's lessons on January 24 and requested that each class come up with some ideas for at least one fund raiser.
About an hour later, the students and teachers gathered together again as a group to discuss their ideas.
Christopher Cizek, a ninth-grade student in the program, came up with the idea of holding a breakfast. "It was something that I thought we could do and that we hadn't done before, so why not try it?" he said.
The menu will consist of scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, home fries, toast, juice and coffee. All of the items will be purchased from the Foodland grocery store (http://www.foodlandstores.com/) in Galeton.
Kelly Macensky, one of the teachers in the religious ed program, approached Galeton Foodland Manager Jim Zengerle, who agreed to offer the items at a discount.
"We do that quite a bit, helping supply stuff for local groups' special functions," Zengerle said. He and store owner Doug Reeves said that offering such assistance is important -- and not just from a business standpoint.
"After all," Reeves said, "we're part of the community. We live here, and we want to help the different organizations in our area any way that we can."
The breakfast is not the first effort at St. Bibiana, part of the Erie Diocese (http://www.eriercd.org/), to raise funds for Haiti following the earthquake. Bishop Donald Trautman urged each parish in the diocese to take a collection January 23 and 24 or the following weekend to help the quake victims.
Father Joe Dougherty, pastor of St. Bibiana, said the collection in their parish drew $1,243.
Dougherty said he is glad that the students want to do something extra to help out as well. He said reports of the devastation in Haiti have given the students an opportunity to recognize how comfortable their own lives are and that they can help someone in need.
"This breakfast is a way to help them focus on that more clearly," he said.
Fisher concurs. "It's another way to help them put into practice what they learn in class here," she said.