Cherry Hill East Interact Club decorates for Christmas

Christmas is right around the corner, which means it is time for many Christmas decorations!

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Christmas is right around the corner, which means it is time for many Christmas decorations!

To help spread the holiday cheer, Cherry Hill East Interact Club helped the nuns at Franciscan Sisters with Christmas decorating on December 8, 2019.

Mrs. Deborah Barr, the club advisor, came up with this community service idea due to a chance encounter at the supermarket. After meeting a couple of nuns there, she scheduled this event with the Franciscan Sisters.

On a mild Sunday at noon, around thirty Interact Club members arrived at Franciscan Sisters and were warmly welcomed by the nuns.

“They are so welcoming and friendly,” said Mariela Fasnacht (‘23), a member of Interact.

Last year, one of the nuns had to set up all the Christmas decorations by herself, so it was to her happy surprise that others would help her with this task.

Decorating the home was a collaborative effort. First, the members split into groups to tackle different tasks. Some members had to haul up boxes from the basement, some members went to decorate the big Christmas tree, some members strung up ornaments and other members set up wooden cut-outs of a Christmas scene. The nuns provided refreshments for the groups.

“There were already some decorations inside, but by the time we were done, there were so many more lights that the house and the outside was filled with warm and cheerful holiday spirit,” said Anna Neaubauer (‘23)

Neaubauer helped put the twinkling Christmas light netting over the bushes outside of the Franciscan Sister’s home.

“We were all looking for some way to connect them all with the plugs… It was kinda crazy,” said Barr.

To add a touch of Christmas spirit to the outside of the Franciscan Sister’s home, some members placed a nativity scene outside–a little wooden shed. There were also wooden cut-outs of Mary and baby Jesus displayed.

“It was complicated because there were different parts that we had to assemble. But at the end I felt good that we completed our task and helped the nuns,” explained Fasnacht.

After finishing the nativity scene, the members did random tasks for the nuns. For example, they helped carry bags of ornaments to different locations.

The participants also bonded with the nuns. Barr said that she and one of the nuns, St. Claire, chatted and shared their life stories with each other.

Even though many of the members do not celebrate Christmas, all the members still came together and had a successful day. After two hours, the Franciscan Sister’s home was stringed with lights and dangling ornaments.

“Although I am not Christian, it felt really good helping the nuns with Christmas decorating and knowing that we were able to spread the holiday spirit,” said Neaubauer.

“That’s what the holidays are all about,” said Barr, “just coming together as people of all different cultures, and in a world where we live with so much animosity, it’s nice to just have a good time together.”