Food, Clothing & Furniture Drive Wants Your Stuff!

For the eleventh year, 41 Saint Anselm College students will spend the second half of final exams and a few days thereafter collecting, organizing, and distributing items to deserving families in the area. As of May 1, boxes were placed in Residential Life Halls to collect unwanted, gently-used items from students. Beginning on Wednesday, May 10, the drive will start collecting larger items – mainly couches and furniture – through the last day of final exams, Friday May 12th.

Students and Abbot Matthew, O.S.B. carry couch

Clothes, toys, furniture, books, household goods, and other gently-used items in good, clean condition are gratefully accepted for distribution to families in Manchester and surrounding communities. Last year, the Drive was able to offer 90 families assistance. This year, the goal of the drive is to service 100 families.

Amy Vachon '17, a member of the committee is ready to get started with this year’s work. “I am confident that this year we will reach our goal of serving even more families,” she says. “I cannot wait to lift some couches alongside some of the most amazing people I have met at this college.”

FCF is a student run program organized by a committee of six members, three seniors, Carroll BaileyCourtney Puccio, and Vachon, and three juniors, Georgie RooneyJoey Smith, and Madison Vigneault. Overseen by the Dean of Students Office, FCF also benefits from the support of the Alumni Office, Advancement Office, Student Government Association, Dining Services, Physical Plant, Saint Anselm alumni, and more.

Student-organizers have been intentional in their efforts to incorporate the Benedictine values of the college into the drive. “We are able to preserve the dignity of our fellow neighbors and create a better and stronger neighborhood,” says Bailey. “FCF brings awareness to the close proximity of large social issues happening right around us. By being able to engage with our neighbors in the Manchester area, we become aware of simple ways we can become more engaged in our community.”

To donate, smaller items can be placed in the boxes in residence halls and apartments around campus. Pick-up times should be scheduled with the FCF crew for donations of larger items such as couches and televisions. Pick-ups can be arranged by emailing

Service & Solidarity: Additional Trips Check In

All trips had checked in by Wednesday night with the Campus Ministry office. Many groups are sending back regular text message and photo updates, but a mid-week conversation confirmed that everyone is having a wonderful time at their service sites.

Whether building a home, working with disadvantaged populations, or ministering through the simple act of presence, Anselmians continue a twenty-two year tradition started with a single trip to Orland, Maine which has grown to now accommodate trips during spring, summer and winter breaks. Nine trips are spread out across the United States, while one group works in Los Chiles, Costa Rica.

Throughout the week, participants learn about Catholic social teaching while spending time living and working with those most in need.

SERVICE & SOLIDARITY: Following are vignettes from groups, originally posted to the Service & Solidarity blog, managed by Campus Ministry.

The Benedictine School, Maryland

Maryland is in love with the kids at the Benedictine School!

Navajo Nation, Arizona

The Navajo group called as they were getting out of their service at the school, and preparing for a Native American sweat lodge experience.

This has always been a wonderful experience for the group in understanding the Navajo spirituality.

St. Joan of Arc School, New Orleans, Louisiana

Leaders Jenn and Cait emailed an update titled "Hello from Sunny New Orleans!"

We are having a blast getting to know the kids at the St. Joan of Arc Catholic School. They are so full of life and energy; it's heartbreaking to learn how much Hurricane Katrina impacted them and their families. We have been able to visit the lower ninth ward where the levees broke during the storm, which has been very emotional and made a huge impact on our lives.

Ms. Frost, the principal of the school, is such a special and wonderful person who has made this school a place where these children can be loved, as well as able to learn in an environment that strives off of their faith and hope. She was able to give us a tour of the lower ninth ward where we were blown away by the destruction and devastation that is still so evident today.

She then so kindly took us to dinner where we had all varieties of New Orleans' specialty; seafood! We hope you enjoy the pictures of these awesome kids and we are looking forward to spending the last 2 days with them!

Andre house of Hospitality, Phoenix, Arizona

Guests wait outside the Andre House

Guests wait outside the Andre House

The Phoenix group has the unique experience of joining the Andre House staff at White Tanks cemetery, where on the first week of the month, the staff volunteers to perform burial ceremonies for the unclaimed dead of Phoenix (mostly the homeless population, or people who cannot afford a proper burial.)

Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, Costa Rica

Editor's note: The Costa Rica leaders, Meaghan and Nicole emailed this update on Tuesday, 28 February.

Just a quick update from Los Chiles! For the past 3 days we have been hard at work. We tore down the Martinez-Espinoza house on the first day and now at the end of day three we have all the walls up and two room floors fully cemented. In between these two stages, we have dug 26 three-feet holes using shovels and metal sticks with a sharp head to break up dirt (similar to the end of an axe but dull), carried extremely heavy cement beams, mixed concrete, leveled a floor and carried the cement wall pieces to be placed. Today and yesterday we have also made time, in between working, to play soccer with Jose Carmelo and Isaida, two of the children from the family. Today some of the neighboring children joined us too, and we had a lot of fun playing with them.

Yesterday, we took a tour of some of the other parts of Los Chiles and got to see a house Saint A’s built a few years ago. During this tour we were able to deliver gifts from a Manchester sponsor to three of her sponsored kids.  The area we are in is extremely impoverished but absolutely breathtaking at the same time. It’s safe to say our group feels humbled and thankful for this experience.

Tomorrow we have our day off. First, we get to sleep in and then go on a scenic boat tour of Rio Frio towards the Nicaraguan border. Next, we have a soccer match scheduled in the afternoon with local children, our whole group and the CFCA members.

So far the weather has been beautiful and not too hot, the people are more than welcoming and the food is great.

Saint Anselm Community Battles Batten Disease in Decathlon

For a large number of Saint Anselm students, this past Sunday consisted of jumping rope, bowling, and three-legged races. Amidst all the excitement, there was one common cause drawing nearly 250 people, mostly comprised of Saint Anselm students, to the Carr Center for the day: a promise to a boy named Nicholas.

Through the Meelia Center for Community Service, and the dedication of a core group of student volunteers, Saint Anselm College held its first Decathlon to Battle Batten Disease. A rare and currently incurable genetic disorder, Battens Disease affects an estimated two to four in every 100, 000 children born in the United States.

Each team that participated was required to raise a minimum of $100, all the proceeds going towards a fundraising campaign entitled Our Promise to Nicholas,  started by a family in Bedford. The goal is to create partnerships in order to promote awareness and fund research for a cure for Batten Disease, which their son Nicholas was diagnosed with at age five.

Participating in a series of ten events, teams exuded energy and enthusiasm while competing in soccer, hockey, a relay, triple jump, jump rope, a three-legged race, basketball, bowling, softball and balloon tosses, and finishing with a bonus round of trivia. The team accumulating the most points would ultimately win the decathlon.

Sean Leonard'10 with Nicholas“Its fun to compete with the other teams and rack up some points but the reason we’ve all gathered together today is to help raise awareness,” said Andrea Vaillancourt, a senior nursing major, who began babysitting for Nicholas previous to his diagnosis. Vaillancourt and a fellow senior nursing major and babysitter Lindsey Mooney, helped connect Nicholas’ family with the college.  Their passion was evident as they discussed hopes for the decathlon to become an annual event.

Caitlin Stromberg’11, one of the organizers of the event, said “it’s been very successful so far, we have already passed our initial fund raising goal.” Stromberg, Stephanie Luckern’10, Craig Hooper’12, and Caitlyn Eaton’ 12 were the dedicated team, with a number volunteers, that made the event happen, arriving as early as 6:30 that morning to set up. “It was a lot of planning and figuring out logistics but it’s definitely been worth it, and I can’t wait to meet Nicholas!” Stromberg said of his anticipated arrival later that day.

The teams, initially divided men’s, women’s, and co-ed divisions, reconvened in the afternoon for the final balloon toss event and to meet Nicholas, whom students took turns shooting hoops and playing soccer with.  Allie Forbes’ 11, said “I didn’t know anything about Battens but I did some research and I was glad to be able to participate. It was a great time.”

For more information, visit

Photo 1: Women's Ice Hockey Team Jumping Rope

Photo 2: Sean Leonard' 10 with Nicholas

More photos from the decathlon can be found at

Saint Anselm Freshmen Participate in Day of Service

Day of Service at Girls, Inc.Saint Anselm freshman continued their transition to becoming true Anselmians as they participated in the Brian McGuire Day of Service on Saturday, August 29. As part of the morning session of orientation 2009, freshmen completed community service at over 20 different sites in the greater Manchester area.

The day of service is a one of the highlight's of Saint Anselm's orientation program. It is named after the late Brian McGuire, a former Saint Anselm student.

"This day is named after Brian because he wanted to give back to the community," said Erica Mawbe '10, Assistant Director of the Meelia Center. According to Mawbe, Brian's parents, along with Dan Forbes in the Meelia Center for Community Service, came up with the idea for the day of service to not only honor their son, but in hopes of promoting community involvement with the incoming class.

During the day of service, freshmen volunteered their time at sites all around Manchester and Goffstown, participating in a variety of projects. At Saint Raphael Parish in Manchester, students cleaned stained glass windows, hung flags, and more, all while learning about the history of the first Benedictine parish in New England.

Right outside the boundaries of campus, at Girls Inc., students helped in the renovation and organization of playrooms to prepare the site for the upcoming school year.

Meanwhile, at the Villa Augustina School in Goffstown, students wrote letters to pre-k and kindergarten children, relating to them about the concerns about starting school for the first time.

"I feel like this is a really good bonding activity", said orientation leader Marina Alberti '12. "They now have things they can relate to, which helps them get closer to each other. I also think this part of orientation really shows what Saint Anselm is all about."

The orientation leaders look fondly on this part of orientation, for many reasons. For some, it is an opportunity to teach their group members about the value of service. For others, it's a time to remember Brian and his family.

"This day is in homage to the person and family who has lost so much and sacrificed so much to keep us mindful of the value of life" said Orientation Leader Scott Campbell '10.

For photos of the Brian McGuire Day of Service and other Orientation events, check out our Flickr page at