The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia
photo boxes of donated food

One day’s food donations shows the outpouring of generosity that is helping St. James School sustain its work in the community.

Dear Friends of the St. James School Community,

Thank you! So far, we’ve received over $18,000 and 50 of you have donated food to help our students, families and neighbors during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. I am especially grateful to those who are giving what they can every week because every week we need more food.

Happily, amid the daily challenges, we have witnessed little miracles. In back-to-back “prayer spoken” and “prayer answered” phone calls this week, I heard the Welcome Table ran out of chicken, then heard from our neighbor Rose Cooper that she had 700 pounds of chicken to give us! See photo below.

As President of the RAH Civic Association, Rose had reached out to the SHARE Food Program to request much-needed protein. SHARE came through. Rose distributed 50% to RAH members in need and gave 50% to us. Every inch of every freezer space we could find is filled with chicken – enough for about three weeks.

To give you some additional perspective on what’s happening at St. James School while our campus is closed, I asked Principal Dave McDonough to share an update. He said:

Gospel work is necessary now more than ever – and looks very different these past three weeks. Father Kellner and the Welcome Table staff have been doing true Gospel work, giving of themselves in extraordinary ways to provide not only essential supplies but also a friendly face and words of encouragement to students who stop by to pick up or drop off their schoolwork. Father Kellner also visits families at their homes, standing in the street while they talk to him from their doorways.

The work of our teachers also is necessary now more than ever – and looks very different. In the first two weeks teachers provided paper packets to students. Then we finished equipping all our students with iPads and internet access so they were able to learn online. Fortunately, all our students had experience using digital resources at school, so that transition has been fairly smooth.

Other adjustments required by stay-at-home orders have been more difficult for our students and families. Many who were already coping with a myriad of challenges now have the additional burdens of loved ones who have lost jobs or have tested positive for COVID-19 – on top of children who are home all day and need to be kept safe, healthy, and engaged in their schoolwork.

While maintaining high expectations, our teachers are striving to keep instruction simple and consistent, and to be realistic about what students can do at home. That varies, of course, and teachers are extra focused on students who are not as academically engaged as we wish. Meanwhile, we have students who are working very hard, overcoming all obstacles, and exceeding our expectations!

I am grateful for Dave McDonough’s academic leadership as well as the extra hours and effort he and every member of our staff is putting in to make the best of a difficult situation.

I know that you, like every person in the St. James community, are coping with the reality that the pandemic is likely to get worse before it gets better. And like all of us, you are stressed by the uncertainly as to when life will even begin to get back to normal.

The silver lining is that, by affecting all of us, this situation reminds us of our shared humanity and motivates us to do what we can to help one another.


  • Pray for our students, families, and staff
  • Send needed items to St. James from our Amazon Wish List
  • Make an online donation to support our street food program
  • Deliver food directly to St. James School or drop off at St. Christopher’s Church (226 Righters Mill Rd, Gladwyne, PA 19035). Large plastic bins marked “St. James School” are under the cloister walk between the school building and the church.
  • Share an idea for how to spread joy to our families. Let me know by replying to this email or call me at 215.226.1276 x108.
  • Follow us on Facebook to hear more updates

God Bless You,

David Kasievich
Head of School


photo boxes of frozen chicken donated

Just when the Welcome Table ran out of chicken, Rose Cooper (center), President of the RAH Civic Association, called to offer 700 pounds of chicken she sourced from the SHARE Food Program.


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