It was hard to beat the success of last year's event, but the teens of St. Joseph's Incendo group rose to the challenge!
Five groups of children, ages 11-17, chose a country to research. They studied the food and the customs and looked into the way Christmas is celebrated in that particular culture. The countries chosen this year were: Poland, Syria, France, England, and Italy. The teens spent weeks constructing elaborate booths, making costumes, and planning and preparing the food to be sold. When the weekend of the event arrived, smells of Italian pasta, Polish sauerkraut, French quiches, and Syrian kofta kebabs wafted through the church and academy buildings. Parishioners, relatives and friends wandered from booth to booth, sampling the ethnic foods.
When the dust settled at the end of Sunday's event, Poland's booth was declared the winner—but more importantly, $3800 was raised to help the poor. The teens immediately went to work to make the Christmas of one poor family extra special. They shopped for groceries to provide a lavish Christmas feast. The shopped for clothes and toys for the children and other family members. They gathered to wrap the packages and then delivered them to a specially selected needy family in their home in downtown Detroit. The joy on the faces of the children and the gratitude in the eyes of the parents left an impression on the teens that will not be quickly forgotten.