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Senior discovers happiness in helping others

Senior+James+Daleo+finds+joy+in+helping+others.+
Senior James Daleo finds joy in helping others.

Senior James Daleo finds joy in helping others.

Zoee Rogers

Zoee Rogers

Senior James Daleo finds joy in helping others.

Zoee Rogers, Writer/Photographer

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When someone is cold, hungry, and down on their luck, where do they go? When money is scarce and the world is unyielding, when the need for a meal becomes more than an irritant, but a focused goal, how do those with less than most get what they need to carry on? Maybe all they need is a helping hand, someone to show a little bit of compassion, and a glimmer of hope. And the funny thing about hope is that it can be shared in more ways than one; it can inspire and uplift any who comes into contact with it, as senior James Daleo has discovered in his time volunteering for St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen.

Daleo recently moved to LCM this year, but has been attending the St. Mary’s church most of his life. His mom became the youth director around the same time Daleo started high school and he said this increased his involvement with the church tremendously. As he spent more and more time with the church, he realized how much he enjoyed being able to help others.

“Assisting my mom with anything she needed made me realize that I love to serve the church and God’s people,” Daleo said.

The soup kitchen run by Daleo’s church is a special event held every Wednesday at St. Mary Hall. It is there that parishioners, volunteers, and those who have been assigned service hours serve a hot meal to the poor and hungry. All types of clothing including shoes, scarves, and jewelry are also provided for those in need. The operation is run by Johnny and Glenda Lucia who, as Daleo said, do their job with fervor and passion.

“They love what they do and what they do brings love,” Daleo said.

He recalls a time when Glenda and a young man named Michael were talking after everyone had eaten. The man was crying but Glenda was there to comfort and support him. During another instance, Daleo saw Johnny break up a fight and stick around until everyone and everything was alright again. From this, Daleo said he learned the most important thing about his volunteer job.

“Closure and spiritual guidance are profound gifts that the Soup Kitchen has to offer,” Daleo said.

I have discovered new roads within myself.”

— James Daleo

Daleo first began committing his time to the soup kitchen during his second year of high school. Before ever stepping up to help, Daleo said he had a good feeling about the idea. Once he began, it was something he found great joy in doing.

“I found out about St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen sophomore year and immediately knew it was something I would do often,” Daleo said.

Daleo soon gained many friends at the soup kitchen and a personal happiness from the smiles he put on the faces of those who came into St. Mary’s Hall. He said even though he might not be able to fix the entire world, he finds renewed hope in the ability to help a few.

“Every time I volunteer at the Soup Kitchen, I gain the happiness of all my friends and co-workers and the joy of having a servant’s heart,” Daleo said.

As a senior in high school, Daleo participates in choir and plays the guitar. He likes hanging out with friends, having deep conversations, and learning new things; but what truly lights him up is doing what he loves – helping people. Volunteering at St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen has allowed him not only to help others, but also to help himself.

“I have discovered new roads within myself and renewed my confidence in the world,” Daleo said. “I have met new people and achieved experience in speaking and embracing diversity. But most of all, I receive great comfort in fulfilling my purpose to serve.”

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