About 600 Bellarmine students overcame challenges of COVID-19 to complete service projects this week for more than a dozen community organizations.
Traditionally, the Knights in Action event calls for students to fan out to nonprofits across Louisville the day before classes start to serve others and connect with the community.
But COVID-19 precautions made that approach too difficult this year, so the event was reconfigured so students could do projects on campus, while wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.
“We realized COVID-19 couldn’t stop us from making a difference,” said Macy Jones, a senior and student director for Week of Welcome.
-Students packaged more than 600 hygiene kits for eight organizations, including Volunteers of America, Home of the Innocents, Wellspring and La Casita Center.
-They also made encouragement kits containing friendship bracelets, potted plants and cards for the Boys and Girls Club, Bellewood and Brooklawn, all organizations that serve children in need.
-They put together dental-care kits for SOS Health and Hope.
-They assembled more than 500 back-to-school kits for local schools.
-Some students painted positivity rocks to place throughout campus to remind Bellarmine’s own community to stay positive throughout the semester.
“It feels like in our first week, Bellarmine is already showing us service is important to this community,” said Maddy Johnson, an accounting major from Mount Washington, Ky., as she assisted with encouragement kits.
The students learned about the nonprofits, their missions and who they serve before embarking on their work.
“I think it’s really good we could be there for them, even if we couldn’t do it in person,” said Noelle Ciasto, an exercise science major from Louisville.
Jessica Lynch, director of Orientation, New Student and Family Programs, said Bellarmine arranged the projects after putting a call out to the community asking nonprofits for ways the students could assist them.
“All of these projects are meaningful and fill a need for our community, whether we get to see that impact or not,” Lynch said. “Even during COVID, our communities need us and these are simple gestures that will make a big difference for these organizations.