Bethlehem students raising funds for Puerto Rico

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A senior Social Justice class at Bethlehem High School is hosting a volleyball tournament this evening for an Advent outreach project to benefit Puerto Rico.

Katie Kiefer, who teaches the semester-long course at Bethlehem, said the students typically do two service projects a year, one for Lent and one for Advent.

"Ultimately, we came up with the idea to help Puerto Rico because the devastation was so intense," she said, referencing how Puerto Rico was catastrophically affected when hit by Hurricane Maria earlier this year.

Kiefer said the school has a student whose family is from Puerto Rico, and she has a friend who is from there as well, so the devastation hits close to home.

Wanting to offer a fundraiser in which the whole school could be involved, they started hosting co-ed volleyball tournaments among classes throughout the week.

“The kids have been running this entirely themselves,” she said.

The event ends with the main tournament at the school tonight, which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. The funds are raised by a student participation fee and a $2 admission to the game. Pizza and donuts will be sold at the concession stand for $1. A limited amount of T-shirts will also be sold for $10. Winner of the class tournament will play Bethlehem teachers.

“The kids have done a great job promoting this among their classmates,” Kiefer said.

Kiefer said the goal is to raise at least $300, which would be given to the Catholic Services Appeal to help bring food, water and supplies to Puerto Rico.

The class has done similar projects in the past, such as a “Powerpuff” all male volleyball tournament last year benefiting St. Vincent de Paul, where several students volunteer on weekends.

The class also made and donated blankets to Room in the Inn last year, and led a recycling project.

Kiefer said the Social Justice course focuses on events happening around the world and in history, and also views of the Catholic Church.