After they completed a tour of Quantum House at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, faculty members from All Saints Catholic School in Jupiter took inventory of the large galley kitchen where they were to cook that evening’s dinner.
The kitchen was fully stocked with everything needed to cook for 50 people, and the faculty didn’t waste any time jumping into preparations for dinner. On the menu: mojo pork, roasted garlic potatoes, caesar salad, green beans and—for dessert—cookies and ice cream.
Jill Broz, principal of All Saints Catholic School, chopped her way through four heads of lettuce as she explained that they were preparing dinner for the families of sick children at Quantum House. “The families that stay at Quantum House are here because they have a child receiving ongoing treatment at St. Mary’s. They’re going through a difficult time right now and relieving the burden of cooking a meal enables them to stay focused on their child,” said Broz.
The idea to reach out to volunteer at Quantum House originated from an eighth-grade cooking class taught by Daniel King, the dean of students at All Saints Catholic School. “I taught the class as an elective, and since then it has evolved into a faculty volunteer project,” said King. He and Jenny Uible, the school’s assistant principal, decided to plan a meal at Quantum House to answer the call to service recently issued by Pope Francis.
In a message released by the Vatican in 2018, Pope Francis urged young people, specifically, to get out into their communities to serve the poor and vulnerable. But the faculty at All Saints Catholic School acknowledged that this call to serve doesn’t only pertain to students. “As teachers in a Catholic school, it is our duty to lead by example. Our roles as teachers aren’t confined to just the classroom; we have to live it in our personal lives as well,” said Uible.
The cooking class evolved into a fully blown volunteer project, which many of the faculty supported either with their donated time or financial support. The ingredients and supplies were purchased through donations made by teachers, who did all the cooking themselves. King and Glen Mandel, the school’s lunch chef, partnered on the planning of the menu and preparation of the main dish. Mandel navigated the kitchen with confidence thanks to his 30-plus years of cooking for the school.
The students weren’t totally absent from the volunteer project. On the tables that evening were get-well cards crafted by students in various grades from All Saints Catholic School. Many of the students who made cards expressed the sentiment to the Quantum House families that they are not alone in their struggle and that they are in the thoughts and prayers of the All Saints Catholic School family.
To learn more about the Diocese of Palm Beach Catholic Schools, visit diocesepbschools.org or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @DoPBCatholicSchools.