BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - For many Christians, Lent is a time of self-sacrifice and reflection. For hundreds of students in Bay St. Louis, this Lenten season is about helping others. The students agreed to give up their regular lunches on Fridays to raise money for students who live on the other side of the world.
Their lunch gave new meaning to cafeteria food. Each plate had a serving of thick corn meal and a scoop of cooked beans.
"It kind of tastes like grits, except in a more compact form," said seventh grader Logan Verdigetes.
"The beans, it's like garlicky. It's got potatoes and onions in it," said freshman Richard Alarcon.
That's the kind of meal many students at St. Stanislaus have chosen to eat on Lenten Fridays.
"It's benefiting someone else, and it's a good cause," said freshman Benjamin Benigno.
The students want to show support for a mission school in Amatongas, Mozambique, a tiny village in Southeast Africa. The school is run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Out of 500 boys at the school, 75 of them are orphans following a long civil war.
"This to us was a perfect way of connecting with our brother school, as well as bringing the service component of what we try to do here at St. Stanislaus home," said St. Stanislaus Principal Patrick McGrath.
The young men at St. Stanislaus voluntarily ate the same meal the students in Amatongas normally eat. By doing so, they donate $3 of their lunch money to the mission school. The goal is to raise $2,500 to buy chickens and hens that lay eggs to supplement their students' daily diet. St. Stanislaus has already sent half of that amount to Amatongas.
"It warms my heart because it's a personal thing for me. I've met those young men they're helping, and it's nice to see our boys that I work with on a daily basis here really wanting to helping somebody else beyond themselves," said Erich Hoffer, St. Stanislaus Dean of Students.
While their meals may be meager, the student's hearts are filled with compassion.
"We take so much for granted nowadays, so it's good to sacrifice what we have," said Benjamin.
"It's not really a sacrifice, because if you're helping others, it's not a sacrifice," said Logan.
Students, parents and the staff at St. Stanislaus have also contributed money to the cause. The school's drama club will donate proceeds from this Saturday's performances of "Crazytown."