AVSI Tents

Last Saturday, November 19, Charitable Work took an unusual form for the people of the CL community of South Bend, IN...

Last Saturday, November 19, Charitable Work took an unusual form for the people of the CL community of South Bend, IN. After watching the video of the last School of Community with Carròn, and after listening to him inviting people to contribute to the AVSI “Tents” campaign, a few people in the community started thinking of a way to contribute. The idea came up to take advantage of the last Notre Dame football game, and to ask for a concession stand on campus. Everyone in the community was invited to participate as a gesture of Charitable Work. They spent the whole morning grilling hamburgers and hotdogs to raise money to be donated to AVSI. All of this happened on the first true winter day in South Bend, in the middle of a snowstorm and freezing temperatures.

Maria, tells us about her experience.

This past Saturday was the first snow we had this year. We had been having a beautiful fall. I thought nothing of saying yes to selling food outside to raise money for the AVSI tents. A great thing I could do!! Finally a Saturday when the charitable work fit my schedule!! However as I walked to the stand across the Notre Dame campus on a game day, all I could think was: “This is hell.” I hate cold. I grew up in the tropics. Here I am living, in the middle of nowhere Indiana, where instead it is cold. Really cold! The snow and sleet were blowing in our faces and we could barely open our eyes to find the stand. I had taken my 9 year old and my 15 year old. The other kids I left at home.

When we arrived things were in full swing and I was amazed at the enthusiasm of my friends—these kids half my age, who surely had other things to do on a freezing Saturday. I am the grown up here. But these kids are showing me what charity means and how to live joyfully. I was so grateful. These past two weeks in School of Community we have read about the Form of Witness. I was watching these kids, my friends, show me the form.

It was so clear that “each one of us, in his or her way of living a certain cultural expression, expresses his or her belonging” (The Form of Witness, p. 5). These people whom I did not know existed three years ago, and whom because of our different circumstances in life I don’t see often enough, have become a dear part of my reality. It is so clear that we belong to the same thing, and it never ceases to surprise me how they challenge me by simply being. The joy has carried over not just a day, but an increase in my certainty, and gratitude.