As one of The Franciscan School’s three pillars, Service is a tangible way students learn to live the Franciscan mission. It is also an integral part of their spiritual and academic foundation. Our faculty and staff weave service and community projects into the year, providing hands-on opportunities for families. Since 2010, TFS has partnered with a local organization, Passage Home, to provide two weeks of perishable and non-perishable grocery items to at least 30 of their families each year. Prior to this, St. Francis of Assisi Church was one of Passage Home’s earliest partners, dating back to 1991.
“It is wonderful to partner with a community that cares deeply about our mission and the families of Wake County,” says Passage Home’s Director of Development, Brittany Westmoreland. Passage Home is Wake County’s Community Action Agency and anti-poverty organization serving families living in poverty, families at risk of falling into the vicious cycle of poverty, and veterans. Their vision is to become a leading voice in a collaborative effort to address poverty and its causes.
Throughout the years, Passage Home and TFS have partnered together on many projects. TFS is a key contributor to Passage Home's annual Back to School Backpack Drive, which supports over 300 kids each school year. Thanks to TFS, Passage Home families have the tools they need to be successful in the classroom.
Over the past few years, the number of families experiencing food insecurity has grown tremendously. For families experiencing poverty, school-provided meals are often the primary source of food security for kids in the household. But when students are out for the holidays or over the summer, their food security is removed. For 13 years, TFS has stepped in to host an Advent Food Drive that provides this food security for more than 30 families each holiday season.
“This year’s Advent Food Drive stood out as one of the most impactful drives I have been a part of,” says Westmoreland. “It gave families much-needed fresh and shelf-stable groceries for families, giving them nutritional meals and a financial reprieve.” Each classroom averaged about three packed boxes per family. Parent leads David and Justine O’Connor Monk did a tremendous job providing the necessary resources for families. Westmoreland attended morning prayer and shared with the student body the impact this drive has on families in the immediate area.
TFS Principal Dawn Smith shared that “This year’s drive was seamless. Building community through some of our traditions has been the key to success at TFS. It is meaningful that students and alumni still remember participating in this drive and having an impact year after year.”
One of the Passage Home families shared the following message after receiving their Advent Food boxes: “Thank you so much. I have tears in my eyes because you don’t know how much I’ve been stressing about food. May you and yours have the best holidays ever.”
Because of your support, TFS will continue to partner with the Passage Home to help break the cycle of poverty and create multi-generational self-sufficiency for the individuals and families of Wake County. Thank you for your commitment to loving God and loving others through service.