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When Mary Jane Syle, a member of St. Paul’s, Montrose, arrived at the elementary school with the large carton of clothes, the school nurse beamed from ear to ear.  “Thank you, thank you,” she said,  “these will be put in circulation immediately.”  And, so they were, as she wrote in a thank you note, “ I gave a student several new pairs of socks we received.  The child was beaming, simply because he had something new.  This program not only clothes children, but also touches lives.” 

Every year Historic St. Paul’s, Montrose, participates in a program called “Undie Sunday,” which is sponsored by the women of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem.  This year the program was a huge success.  On Sunday, October 1, parishioners brought undies, socks, and sweats to the worship service to offer to children in need. “At a time when there appears to be a great need in our area, especially with many recovering from the flood, Undie Sunday at St. Paul’s was a great success,” reports Rachel Warriner Barton, Sr. Warden of St. Paul’s.

“It was amazing to watch,” says Judy Ochse, a member of the parish and a local school nurse, “as members of the congregation filled several times over the laundry basked placed in the rear of the Church.”  Along with the donation of “necessities,” many parishioners contributed money to help with the effort, and fill in the inventory gaps.  “Even Wal-Mart contributed a $50 gift certificate,” reports Ochse.  The most amazing thing was that one parishioner took on “Undie Sunday” as a personal outreach mission and collected over $550 from local businesses and residents.

When the results were tallied, a team of shoppers including Mary Jane Syle, Margaret Burgh, and Jane Chandler began their careful shopping.  When they finished, they had in hand for distribution 696 pair of underwear and socks, and 90 pair of sweats.  Then all was divided to distribute the clothing to the local school nurses on Friday, October 20.

The clothing was delivered to Lathrop Street Elementary School, Montrose; Choconut Valley Elementary School, Choconut; Susquehanna Elementary School, Susquehanna; Blue Ridge Elementary School, New Milford; Mountain View Elementary School, Kingsley; and Elk Lake Elementary School, Dimock.  “The generosity of the parishioners of St. Paul’s, highlighted by the passion of one person, reached not only our local community but the whole of Susquehanna county,” opined Rachel Warriner Bartron.

After the deliver to the schools, one long-time parishioner of St. Paul’s reflected on the experience of joyful generosity and joyful receiving.  “You know I had forgotten how little some of the elementary students are – they barely come up to your knees!  I left each school with a wonderful feeling that our small gifts will enter their lives in a big way.”  And, he added, “I recall the words of General Colin Powell:  ‘If that doesn’t give you goose bumps you better get somebody to throw dirt on you because you’re dead.’”

Photo:  Historic St. Paul’s, Montrose, provides “necessities” to local school children.  Dawn Washo, left, and Rachel Warriner Bartron, right, present Judy Ochse, center, with underclothing for local children in need.

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