The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 23, 2013

St. Benedict School project benefits Soup Kitchen

JOHNSTOWN — Pupils at St. Benedict School in Geistown are in the midst of a service project that will help those less fortunate in the community.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society Youth Conference at the school, along with pupils in prekindergarten through eighth grade, faculty and staff are raising funds for St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Soup Kitchen by painting ceramic bowls that will be sold to the public.

Mary Jo Podratsky, a fifth-grade teacher and one of the project coordinators, said after tossing around some ideas it was decided to do a project that would benefit the Soup Kitchen because many pupils had volunteered there in the past serving food.

“One in five kids don’t know where their next meal is coming from, so we wanted to do something to feed people,” she said.

Everyone is painting two bowls and has free rein in choosing the design they want.

Once they’re completed, Koch’s Ceramics in Moxham fires the bowls and returns them to the school.

The bowls, along with a can of soup, are $10 and will be available for purchase beginning Nov. 7.

Bowls will be on display at the school and at St. Vincent de Paul Society’s thrift store, 301 Central Ave., Johnstown.

“We have 600 bowls, and our goal is to raise $6,000 for the Soup Kitchen,” Podratsky said.

Tessia Robison said the project is cool and will help a lot of people in the area.

She was painting one bowl with a Halloween theme and the other with a beach scene.

“I feel bad when people don’t have enough to eat,” the seventh-grader said. “I like to see people smile, and helping them makes you feel good.”

Podratsky said the school has embraced the project and pupils couldn’t wait to get started.

“The students have a lot of empathy and big hearts and just want to help everyone,” she said.

For information on purchasing a bowl, call the school at 266-3837.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

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