After a tornado ripped through St. Bernard Parish in March, sophomore Grace Morel immediately knew she wanted to help. As a resident of St. Bernard, she saw the destruction first-hand and began thinking of ways to assist those affected. After discussing her thoughts with Ms. Simno, a school-wide gift card drive began. "Most people often do toiletry supplies which is wonderful but I wanted to do something different," she said. The gift cards could "help pay for some of their meals, home expenses, or any supplies they needed."

MCA students donated more than 200 gift cards to grocery stores, restaurants, and retailers such as Walmart. Grace met with Councilman Gillis McCloskey, District A of St. Bernard, to discuss the best way to distribute the cards. Mr. McCloskey had a list of those most affected by the tornado. They were contacted and an event was scheduled.

"When I was able to hand out the gift cards as the Mount Carmel representative, it felt so heartwarming to see the gratitude that these families had," she said. "You could tell how deeply affected they were by this tornado so something as small as a gift card really meant so much to them. I am thankful that I was able to represent our wonderful school and give back to the community in which I live. I have never done something such as this, but putting this drive together and seeing the smiles on their faces showed me that it is all about giving back and caring for others, whether it's small or big."



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