The Ozanam Inn is a local non-profit organization that provides aid and comfort to the poor and needy in our community by providing basic human needs, such as food, shelter and clothing. They work with all individuals who come to them for assistance to move them from homelessness and hopelessness to independent living and a renewed feeling of hope. The goal of Ozanam Inn is to comfort all who are vulnerable, less fortunate and in need to help them realize their potential. Holy Cross is honored to be a part of this ministry, as it gives our students an opportunity to truly experience what Jesus calls us to do. For more information, visit http://www.ozanaminn.org/.
Class of 1970 and Class of 2020 Partner in Service Project
This year, members of the Class of 1970, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary, partnered with the Senior Class of 2020 to engage in a year-long service project with Ozanam Inn. Each month students and their alumni brothers come together to provide and serve a meal for those in need. It’s an experience that is changing lives and transforming hearts.
Joe Spitale '70 is class captain for his alumni class, and he has been the driving force behind this service project.
"I began working with a neighborhood group about five years ago serving food at Ozanam Inn. A couple of years ago while having lunch with a few of my Holy Cross ’70 classmates, we talked about how great it was to get together, but that it would make it more meaningful if we had a real purpose. The idea of helping others really resonated with the group," said Spitale.
He told them about his work as a volunteer at Ozanam Inn, and the response was immediate and enthusiastic.
"We got about 20 guys to agree to serve food at Ozanam Inn. We did that once a quarter for a while. Then the idea came about to invite some of our current students to get involved with our service work. Several members of the senior class have joined us throughout the year to serve. We let the students do the work and interface with the people in the shelter. It works out great! The students do the service work, and the alumni pay for the food and support and encourage them."
The group then has dinner together after the service, which allows the alumni an opportunity to talk with the students and get to know them.
"We reinforce the meaning of being a Holy Cross Man and show them that even after 50 years, many of us from the Holy Cross class of 1970 still remain good friends and are giving back. …as we hope they will. I watch the kids during the service project, and I can see how eye opening it is for them," Spitale said.
Senior Antoine Liddell has been a volunteer with this project, and says this has had a huge impact on him.
"While being at Holy Cross, I’ve learned that we should get outside of our comfort zones and help those who are in need because if we stay in our own little bubbles, we will never see multiple sides to life. Once you see the harsh conditions that a person is living through, it makes you step back and realize that the world isn’t as perfect as it seems sometimes," Liddell said.
Liddell's classmate Merrick Murchison, who recently went through the Holy Cross Immersion Program and has been a volunteer with Ozanam Inn, reflected: "Holy cross has helped me realize what type of man I need to become in the future. It has opened my eyes to the problems in our community and the role that I need to step up and take in the future. The best thing about it is that all my Holy Cross brothers have taken this step with me, so we as brothers can be the leaders who can help change our community for the better."
Spitale, Liddell and Murchison were recently featured on WWL-TV's Great Day Louisiana, where they had a chance to share their story and reflect on Holy Cross' mission of servant leadership. The interview can be viewed at the link below: