William Shewalter was in second grade at Sacred Heart School in West Reading when his teacher challenged her students to find service projects to help the less fortunate.
Eight years later, Shewalter’s “Sweaters for Seniors” project is still going strong. With the help of his parents and many generous volunteers, Shewalter has collected more than 1,500 sweaters for residents of Reading area nursing homes.
“I remember visiting my great aunt in a nursing home,” said Shewalter, now a sophomore at Berks Catholic High School. “Everyone there wore sweaters year-round. They were always cold.”
This year’s Sweaters for Seniors collection is under way now and will run through February. With the help of Catholic Charities, Shewalter gets the word out for people to drop off sweaters at his school or his parish, Sacred Heart in Reading. Then, the 15-year-old piles them in the family car and his parents drive him around to distribute them.
“God is very loving,” Shewalter explains as he talks about his motivation for the project. “Jesus helped everyone He saw, and He taught us to be as loving to our neighbors as He was to us.”
“Because We Are Catholic” tells the stories of how the people of the Diocese of Allentown make a difference in the lives of others, bringing the Light of Christ to each other and to our community.