Potluck and Painting night descends upon St. Gabe’s

Parents brought a variety of food, including pizza, pasta, fried chicken, crackers and cheese, vegetables and hoagies.

OST Group Leader Gabby Patrone serves parents and their children at St. Gabriel’s first ever Potluck and Painting night.

Parents and their children gathered at St. Gabriel School in Grays Ferry Friday night for the first-ever Potluck and Painting event, in which parents brought food for a buffet-style dinner for all to enjoy.

“Our goal this year is to host more family focused events,” said Tori Robson, director of Saint Gabe’s. “This particular event is open to all of our OST [out of school time] students and their families. Everyone will have the opportunity to paint a Christmas picture.”

After the dinner concluded, students and parents ventured upstairs into the school’s gym to continue the night with some fun holiday painting.

“We really wanted to organize more family nights this year, so we sat down and talked about things that we might have the potential to do,” said OST group leader Gabby Patrone. “This one came together with the whole painting night. Then we kind of thought, well, it’ll be dinner time and the kids are still here so what if we incorporate some food? So we put this together.”

Parents brought a variety of food, including pizza, pasta, fried chicken, crackers and cheese, vegetables and hoagies.

“It’s hard to foster — especially in a socioeconomic environment like ours — the parents being able to have time to spend with their kids,” said Patrone. “A lot of times the parents are picking them up late, taking them home, feeding them, then they’re going to bed. As much parent involvement as we have, we figured we’d do something with it. Let them have time with their children.”

Additionally, the event allows for the opportunity for the the staff to mingle with parents and “let them know what’s going on with the kids,” Patrone said. “Because we all raise them together.”

According to Robson, St. Gabe’s will also host additional family nights throughout the year such as a bingo night and math-themed literacy night, although dates and times for those nights have yet to be determined.

Established in 2013, St. Gabe’s serves at-risk children in grades kindergarten through sixth.

In addition, St. Gabe’s is an Archbishop’s Benefit for Children beneficiary. ABC is a fundraising initiative of the Catholic Charities Appeal. It supports the daily operations and special projects of CSS programs that provide help and create hope for more than 16,000 children each year. This year ABC will culminate with the 63rd Annual ABC Christmas Gala. Some 29 students from St. Gabe’s were to attend the party slated for Tuesday, Dec. 18.