Brothers Give Back Amid Pandemic Crisis

by, Katie Heneghan, Web Editor

COVID-19 has taken its financial toll on so many families, businesses and especially colleges, however, the Lasallian Brothers at Manhattan College took it upon themselves to try and ease the burden that the pandemic has put on the college and its students. 

As Lasallians, the Brothers take a vow of poverty, meaning that when they received their $12000 government stimulus checks this year from the Federal Government, the Brothers decided the money could be put to better use. 

Brother Jack Curran is one of the Brothers that opted to donate the money. 

“We all sent these checks to our DENA office, and then our DENA office sent some of these funds to the College through their committee to assist students in need,” he wrote via email. 

DENA, standing for “District of Eastern North America”, is the governing body of the Lasallian Mission. It includes Lasallian schools from Toronto all the way down to Florida. The Brothers also received a special COVID grant from DENA, which they again chose to donate. 

“The second special COVID-related gift came from DENA funds (not federal government stimulus funds),” Curran wrote. “This second gift just recently went to the college to assist with COVID related expenses, including technology upgrades and student financial aid– all related to COVID.” 

Typically, the Brothers give one special financial gift to the college each year. Given the extenuating circumstances surrounding the pandemic, the Brothers made additional donations, upholding many of the Lasallian values the college prides itself on, such as concern for the poor and social justice, as well as investing in quality education. 

Lois Harr, vice president of Campus Ministry and Social Action, admires the Brother’s commitment to Lasallian values amid the pandemic. 

“I think it’s about showing in a very concrete way how we are a community, and the Brothers, because of the way that they live in simplicity, and they have everything they need,” Harr said. “They ended up with something extra and they felt like they should share that where there was another need. If you think about another Lasallian value, excellence in education, they can help a school that’s operating as a Lasallian institution stay afloat and provide what it does for other people.”

With the heavy focus on education within the Lasallian values, the Brothers take it upon themselves to provide whatever they can for the college and its mission, with assistance from the outside world. Given the financial impact of the pandemic on the college, the Brothers decided to make their own impact in a different way: by giving back. 

“If you look at what De La Salle talks a lot about in his writings, he always talked about how students were entrusted to our care,” Harr said. “If someone is entrusted to your care, it means that you should be taking good care of them. So sharing, and helping an institution stay a little more viable — I think the Brothers felt that this was a very concrete way to help out a school in need.”