Over the summer, GP offered 8 Immersion Trips to our seniors. The last trip was in early August to the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. The St. Francis Inn Ministries believes in the power of solidarity, hospitality, and compassion. The eight students and two adults worked with the staff at the St Francis Inn to carry out the duties around operating a large soup kitchen. They group food prepped, cooked, served, and cleaned. They also assisted with maintaining the building grounds.
The St. Francis Inn serves at least one sit down meal every day and an additional takeaway bagged breakfast Tuesday through Thursday. There are between 150 and 250 guests for each meal on any given day. The staff work tirelessly to help the guests with needs like toiletries, clothes, haircuts, and finding employment. They operate a store nearby where guests can get a certain number of items each month. Teacher and chaperone Bob Brewer commented “The place is truly a refuge of Christian compassion and empathy in a sea of indifference.”
Ari Salim ‘24 siad “My experience at St. Francis Inn and the soup kitchen has instilled in me a more profound empathy for the poor. By having conversations with the guests we made and served food to and with the other volunteers and staff members, I gained a better understanding of the situation the homeless are in and the stories that led to their predicaments. The cleaning, cooking, organizing, and serving experience at the soup kitchen has taught me that with hard work alongside other volunteers, we can help those in our communities who are the most in need of food, water, and basic necessities. It has also given me a stronger appreciation for cooks, cleaners, waiters, and staff members and volunteers in charity organizations."
Declan Healy ‘24 shared "My immersion trip at St. Francis Inn helped me to better understand the living condition of the people we served as we stayed in the community during our week of service. By living right next to the Inn, we were able to see the impact of the Inn's work on the community, and how valuable it was to people in need. By not only serving but being among a marginalized community, the trip helped us become men for and with others."
The seniors also took an evening trip to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Reading market in Philadelphia. Thanks to the chaperones, Latin teacher Bob Brewer and Manager of Alumni Engagement Patrick Mullery for their time and guidance with the students.