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Celia Sews for Socks

Pixabay photo

By Fr. Francis Pizzarelli

It’s hard to believe another new year has begun. There is so much tension and turmoil across our American landscape that is infected with a new COVID variant that is highly contagious. Our essential workers continue to be our heroes, as they quietly take on longer hours and additional shifts to keep people safe and healthy. We are blessed to have three extraordinary hospitals in our larger community: St. Charles, Mather, and Stony Brook University Hospital.

Our political landscape continues to be overwhelmed with hateful and divisive rhetoric that seems to be paralyzing us from moving forward. It is this hateful speech on both sides of the aisle that continues to infect and rip at the heart and soul of America. We need to elect leaders who will represent us and our issues in Washington, no matter what their political affiliation might be.

Our schools are failing at every level to motivate this generation to consider genuine government service and help them to believe that their voice does matter; that their active participation in the political life of our country can and will make a difference.

Active engagement on the part of every citizen will defeat the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance lobbyists and the gun lobbyists. Compromise and fairness once again will take center stage. We are a democracy, not an autocracy. Everyone’s vote and voice matters. Race, religion, sexual orientation or social status should not color how we see and support the issues.

Our public discourse has lost its moral compass. The often vulgar and disrespectful  ad hominem attacks too often have nothing to do with the issue at hand. Social media should be a positive tool to bring us together not a destructive weapon to demonize and destroy. 

Despite this troubling landscape as we begin a new year there are powerful lights piercing the darkness. 

Two young men from two different worlds on the verge of human destruction reclaimed their lives; one was a high school dropout, the other a college dropout. Both spent a significant amount of time living in the streets. Each man graduated in May with Masters degrees in social work from two different universities. Both decided to give back and take jobs as school social workers in different school districts. I asked them why? Both said: “I want to give back and possibly prevent someone else from walking down the wrong road.”

Probably the most touching experience I had this holiday season is when I met an eight-year-old girl named Celia. She came to her mom at the height of the pandemic and said, “I want to do something for the homeless.” This gave birth to “Celia Sews for Socks.” She made scrunchies and hair ties and sold them at a few local community events. She made $1000 to buy socks for the most needy among us. She donated $700 worth of socks to Hope Academy in Mount Sinai and $300 worth of socks to Little Flower Children’s Services.

What a refreshing little girl who has not been infected by all the craziness around us. She brought 10 bags of beautiful socks for some of the most vulnerable among us living at Hope Academy. The men gave her a standing ovation!

“Celia Sews for Socks” is a refreshing reminder that we can do better and this new year can be better. Celia, thank you for reminding me that hope lives in our midst!

Father Francis Pizzarelli, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW, is the director of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson.