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“During the pandemic and during quarantine, we were all just at home pretty much not doing anything, and it was the same endless cycle over and over again. My mom was the one who told us about this, and she was telling us like, ‘We should do more. We have so much, we should be able to help others as well with everything we have,’ and so we started coming to the food pantry. We made it a habit to come Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. After that, it basically became routine for all of us. Any events that they have, as long as it doesn’t conflict with school, I’ll show up.

Recently, I have started helping as a receptionist for the CRS program, we see people coming here who are looking for help for their future. Just knowing that I’m able to make a change in their lives knowing that I can do that is just something that keeps me going.

I go to a public. So in school, I’m not as exposed to my faith as much. So I feel like I got go to church every Sunday, and I go to youth ministry, but I still need more in order for me to grow in my faith. Being here in a Catholic environment—in a safe environment, a healthy environment—really helps me see other people that are like me, and how all of us are here and we do it for the greater good, and we’re here to help others. And also I went to one of the Friday Masses the other day here. That was also really nice because you’re working, and it’s like you get to go to Mass in the middle of it, and it’s a completely new experience, but it was really nice.”

Arianna has been volunteering at Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s Agape Mission Market with her family since June 2020 and at the front desk with Comprehensive Refugee Services for the last few weeks.