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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

May 11, 2021

Saint Leo the Great Community Fills Boxes of Food for Those in Need

From left: London Lawicki, of Ocean; Clara Vargas Makrinos, of Lincroft; Paul Pasqua, of Colts Neck; Gianna Ali, of Lincroft; Julia Mohamadi, of Lincroft, Bridget Matthews, teacher; Eliza Purdy, of Tinton Falls; Owen Reardon, of Red Bank; Elizabeth Fallon, of Colts Neck; Colton Plonski, of Freehold; Matthew Hemschoot, of Lincroft; Lori Quaglato, paraprofessional; Joseph Bruno, of Lincroft; and Antonio Chiricolo, of Freehold.

Aware that everyone needs help sometimes but may be hesitant or embarrassed to ask, Saint Leo the Great second-grade teacher Bridget Mathews has started a charity, Angels Sharing Boxes.

Inspired by Mother Teresa’s saying, “Together we can do great things,” Matthews and her students have placed two Angels Sharing Boxes full of donated non-perishable food items in Lincroft. One outside Silver Tulip Florist, 681 Newman Springs Rd., is dedicated to the students, faculty, and staff of Saint Leo the Great School. The second box is located on the grounds of Saint Leo the Great Church near the Stations of the Cross garden and is dedicated to the memory of Saint Leo the Great School alumnus, Kevin Kret, and the Kret Family for sharing their inspiration and hope after Kevin’s tragic accident.

The Kret Family, of Middletown, attends the launch of  Angels Caring Boxes Charity developed by Bridget Matthews, the second-grade teacher at Saint Leo the Great School.

Mathews explained, “The idea behind this charity is to take what you need and give when you can. Everyone needs help occasionally, and some people might not know where to get help, not qualify or just be embarrassed to ask. Our hope is that people will adopt boxes and there will be boxes all over to help people in need.” 

 The community of Saint Leo the Great School regularly helps the less fortunate as part of the school curriculum through service projects. All students participate in a character development program called The Positivity Project. In 2020, Saint Leo the Great School was recognized as the National School of Character, only one of 84 in the United States and the first Catholic school in New Jersey to gain the distinction. The box located on the school grounds will be filled through food drives from each grade and the Saint Leo the Great Ignite Youth Group throughout the year. 

 Leading up to Easter, Matthews’ students chose to practice almsgiving by collecting new socks for the Saint Leo Church Youth Group, donate clothes for Goodwill, and collect food for the Angels Sharing Boxes. According to Lori Quagliato, a second-grade paraprofessional, the response was overwhelming. 

“Thanks to the generous support of the second-grade families, gently worn coats, clothes, and pairs of socks were collected,” There were enough canned goods and food items collected to fill both boxes. Mrs. Matthew’s vision of discreetly helping community members in need is now a reality.”

 The public is invited to participate in the Angels Sharing Boxes as a donor or recipient. Information on community services available to the public can also be found in the boxes. For more information, email anglessharingboxes@gmail.com.