Common basket project encourages giving

Meredith Gallagher

More than a few students shared looks of confusion at the Opening School Liturgy early in September when they were asked to place their talents into baskets. Although the baskets are new to the school Masses, the Rwandan bowls will most likely be a fixture at all future Liturgies.

They are all part of the the Common Basket Project, the BSM Theology Department’s new philanthropic plan to raise money for organizations in the community. “We felt called as a community to start a philanthropy project,” Ms. Lisa Lenhart-Murphy, religion teacher and head of the project, said.

The Common Basket began with the Christian Brothers, who started schools for poor and homeless children. Their schools received such a good reputation that richer families also began to send their children there. “As wealthier families sent their kids to the Christian Brothers’ schools, the difference between rich and poor became very obvious,” Ms. Lenhart-Murphy said.

So the Christian Brothers started a common basket where wealthier students could put their extra food, and students who did not have food could take freely.

Now, BSM is starting its own Common Basket. “The Parent Association approached us and said they wanted to do something about how their kids view money, spending, and giving.” Ms. Lenhart-Murphy said.
Just like at the Opening Liturgy, the bowls will be passed around at the Homecoming Mass. This time all students will be asked to symbolically place their time into the baskets. Then at the Thanksgiving Mass and all liturgies afterward students will be asked to give their money.

The collection from each Mass will go to a different organization. This year’s theme is hunger, so all money will go towards organizations that aid hunger issues. Ms. Lenhart-Murphy plans to have a committee of students decide before each Mass what specific organization the money will go to. She hopes to have a few students from each grade to represent their class on the committee.

Ms. Lenhart-Murphy hopes through this project students can learn to look at themselves and find ways that they can help the community. “The whole concept,” Ms. Lenhart-Murphy said, “is to give what you have and take what you need.”