By Michelle Fisher

FITCHBURG (CBS) – St. Bernard’s High School in Fitchburg was founded on the motto, “Deeds, not words.” That mantra was on display around the school’s activity center, as the students and staff participated in a special service project. In conjunction with the United Way’s Combat Hunger program, the entire school packaged meals for the needy Wednesday.

“I think it’s pretty exciting,” said student David Nurmi.

Nurmi, like each student and faculty member, was assigned a task. There was even some friendly competition between each assembly line.

“We’re seeing who can pack the most, pretty much,” said Nurmi. “So you want to get the most boxes, but you want to be careful about what you’re putting into the bags.”

Students at St. Bernard’s High School packaged meals for the United Way on Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

The Saints Against Hunger service project was spearheaded by three St. Bernard’s students, sophomores Ryan Loiselle and Katie Boissoneau, and senior Tori Loiselle.

Boissoneau was motivated by her older sister, who organized the same project two years ago at the school. “It was very inspiring to see how many people they were helping,” Boissoneau said. “So I wanted to do the same thing to help other people.”

The first step for Boissoneau and students at St. Bernard’s was to raise enough money for the food and supplies.

“We put out a social media post to the whole community, and people were very generous with their money to help us out,” Boissoneau said.

The students raised $6,000 and packaged more than 35,000 meals. The project helped the United Way of North Central Massachusetts reach a major milestone.

“We are packaging our 1,000,000 meal today,” said Kory Eng, president and CEO of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts. “It’s really exciting!”

“They set the goal of 35,000, recognizing that would be a push,” said Eng. “We appreciate that because we know there’s a need.”

The UWNCM created the Combat Hunger initiative in 2013 to address the issue of food insecurity in the state’s North Central region.

The packages completed by the St. Bernard’s students will be distributed to local food pantries.

“I feel really proud we’re all doing this as a part of the community,” said Freshman student Nana Okyere.

Michelle Fisher

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