World Day of the Poor and Mitzvah Day fall on the same Sunday, and to mark the occasion Caritas Westminster and the organisers of Mitzvah Day engaged six schools in North London in a social action project. The schools, three Jewish (Noam Primary, Tiferes Boys School and Sachs Morasha School) and three Catholic (St Anthony’s Girls School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Pope Paul School.) collected and donated 350 backpacks filled with school supplies to Mary’s Meals.
Many pupils who benefit from Mary’s Meal’s often do not have the right equipment to allow them take part in education, such as pens, rulers and other things that we may take for granted. The backpack project was chosen as it is a good way of reminding pupils of the differences and similarities with other children around the world. One head teacher said his pupils had ‘spent the week thinking what it would be like not to have school supplies, not even a pencil or pen. It made them really think how difficult it is not to have basic school equipment and to appreciate how much we all have of everything!’
World Day of the Poor is the day when Pope Francis asks us to pray especially for the poorest in our society and to try and do something practical to alleviate poverty. On Mitzvah Day members of the Jewish community are encouraged to give their time to charity and social action. Both days are about putting faith into action for the benefit of others.