Holy Cross College students give to 60 Michiana families in need

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Students and faculty at Holy Cross College spent Sunday making a difference in the lives of 60 families in and around South Bend.

Packing boxes full of traditional Thanksgiving fare from corn and green beans to pumpkin pie to yams, they successfully accomplished another annual tradition at the college geared toward bringing joy and hope to those who need it most during the holidays.

Social Concerns President at the college Claire Doriot, led the volunteers in organizing and packing the boxes at the college before delivering some herself.

One of the families that received assistance from the St. Vincent DePaul-Holy Cross College venture was Leo Rhymes, Tasha Garbar, and their children Blayse and Shanelle.

Rhymes and Garbar moved the family from the north side of Pontiac, Michigan; a decaying suburb of Metro Detroit.

Rhymes and his family lived in what he described as a poor and dangerous neighborhood, rife with prostitution and violence.

His young son, Blayse added, “Everyday, we would hear the pop of guns, right daddy?”

Grimly, Rhymes affirmed his sons observation.

The move took just about everything they had financially.

Now, Rhymes works third shift as a laborer, while Garbar stays home and cares for the children.

Having dropped out of high school, and without a GED, Rhymes is doing the best he can with the skills he has, which are not extensive.

He would like to get his GED so that he can start to find a job that would pay better so that he could provide for his family.

Because money is tight, it looked like Thanksgiving and Christmas would be lost causes for the couple and their children, so Garbar signed them up for assistance.

It was the first time she had to do that, and it was difficult for her; but even more so for Rhymes.

Rhymes grew up poor; his family relying heavily on care packages and assistance like that given to him Sunday. He does not want that for his kids though.

Rhymes is thankful for the assistance, calling it a blessing, and in the next breath he promised he would never quit trying to provide for his family.

“I can’t give up. That’s a failure. I cannot believe in giving up,” said Rhymes.

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