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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Matt Potter putting on the gloves to help others

Let’s as an MC community help the senior reach his service project goals
Senior+Matt+Potters+Helping+Hands+handwear+drive+is+advertised+in+several+posters+around+campus.+
Matthew Potter ’24
Senior Matt Potter’s Helping Hands handwear drive is advertised in several posters around campus.

When thousands of migrants arrive in Chicago right before what looks like another brutal winter, someone needs to step up to help out their fellow human beings. 

Mt. Carmel senior Matthew Potter is a member of the Department of State’s Youth Ambassador Program, for which he recently traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks. 

“It’s a big student exchange program,” said Potter.

The program is a way for America’s youth to be represented around the globe and is mostly focused on Latin America and the Caribbean but also has students in those regions travel to the US to do the community service work and culture awareness that the program entails. 

After the two-week travel trip to Costa Rica, Potter was assigned to find a problem in his community and address it. As he lives in the Woodlawn area, he decided to find a way to help the incoming migrants in the area, especially before the winter.

“Wait five minutes” might have little meaning to many, but when you’re from Chicago it makes sense with the city’s weather. One minute it’s sunny with a few clouds in the big blue sky. Then just in the blink of an eye, the sky is filled with dark clouds with lighting, and somehow snow falling. 

These migrants from much warmer climates are entering a new environment unprepared. 

With most migrants lacking proper clothing to survive the winter, many locals like Potter are stepping up.

For his “Helping Hands” clothing drive, he is asking for new and gently-used gloves, mittens, and hand warmers to be donated from the MC community. Potter noticed that many other drives seek donations of coats and hats but not gloves or mittens. And most Chicagoans know how important proper handwear is during the winter.

Being exposed to raw Chicago winters is a health hazard. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that at least 247 were killed due to the weather in Cook County alone between 2006-18.

Most people would agree that gloves are necessary to keep warm. It should be considered a human right to be clothed, and our Catholic faith calls us to help others in need.

Those new to Chicago are facing a new world with a climate many of them are not prepared for. They are relying on the good will of Chicagoans for that help.

“Care for others” is one of the core values at MC. It is displayed all around campus. Donating to Potter’s winter handwear drive is the definition of that value MC students supposedly embody.

“I want to see all three boxes be filled and to make a difference,” said Potter.

Anyone in the MC community can make a difference by participating in this drive. A pair of unused gloves or mittens can be found anywhere in a person’s house, and packages of hand warmers are inexpensive. Any nearby dollar store has plenty of gloves and mittens available for cheap.

Regardless of anyone’s personal stance on immigration in America, just imagine what migrants have to go through to have a better life. The term “American Dream” is tossed around a lot, and it involves a life that many people want to live, but seems to those far away like just that–a dream.

A few actually chase that dream, but for anyone that dream needs a bit of help to come true.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” Christ says in Matthew 22:39. This is a basic tenet of the Christian faith. And that word “neighbor” doesn’t only mean the person next door but anyone who shares this planet. 

Potter wants to make a difference, but can’t do it without the support of the MC community. so he is calling on the student body and anyone else connected to the MC community who can contribute to help his cause. MC has other clothing drives every year, but this is the only one managed and organized by a member of the student body. 

The last day to donate is Friday, November 17th, so bring in new or gently used gloves, mittens, and hand warmers before it’s too late. Help out a dream during this holiday season.

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About the Contributor
Jack Breakey '24, Staff Writer
John “Jack” Breakey is a Senior at Mount Carmel High School. Jack resides on the South Side of Chicago in the Morgan Park neighborhood. He also attended grammar school in the neighborhood at St. Cajetan School.  Jack is a member of Caravan Broadcasting Network as their Senior Producer and also a member of the MC Model UN club and a Peer Leader. Outside of school, he’s a member of the Chicago Fire Department Gold Badge Society. For hobbies, Jack enjoys bike riding, watching movies, playing video games, and researching government. One of Jack’s favorite pastimes is listening to music. He is a large fan of rock and roll, especially Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, and the genre of bluegrass. This influence came from his father, Thomas Breakey, Mount Carmel class of 1982, and an active Chicago firefighter. His father has been a large inspiration for Jack, who has become a better man because of his father. Jack's dream job is working in international relations or national security. He researches current world events and conflicts while also being a student of history. Who knows? Jack might become the real Jack Ryan one day.