Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

'Act justly, love tenderly'

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School launches a drive for refugee resettlement

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School volunteers Arianne Cakarnis. right, and Moya Costello are leading the student council and their own kids in a brand-new Drive for Refugee Families.Two moms are leading Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in arranging a Drive for Refugee Families.

The drive to collect specific items to set up apartments for refugees resettling in the area kick-started on Wednesday and continues through Nov. 30 under the leadership of Arianne Cakarnis and Moya Costello.

The idea arose because of the help the school’s affiliated church, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Parish, is offering local refugees under the leadership of Father John Kerns. The school and parish are working together to support refugee resettlement services at Catholic Charities, a nonprofit organization.

Those efforts inspired Cakarnis and Costello. Cakarnis says helping others is integral to the Catholic religion and is also the school’s mission, “Act justly, love tenderly, walk humbly with your God.”

“People rally around these causes because it’s really at the core of our faith, to be of service,” she says.

She adds that Pope Francis also is calling this the Year of Mercy, so acts of kindness align with that. She says he wants people to reach out and do what they can to be helpful.

The pair isn’t doing this alone at the school, but has the backing of the staff, teachers and OLL students, including their children and the student council. Costello says these kinds of acts are especially important for the young volunteers.

“I think it’s important for them to know what goes on and to support and help a cause like this for people in need,” she says.

More than 1,200 refugees resettle in Oregon each year, and most of them come from Iraq, Burma, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Catholic Charities documents. It can take six years from placement in a refugee camp to resettlement in the United States.

Cakarnis and Costello are asking each grade level to be responsible for contributing certain new items.

"Mrs. Costello and Mrs. Cakarnis truly exemplify and model Catholic values and self-awareness of the needs around the world," says Denise Gonzalez, vice principal. "The wealth of knowledge they are bringing to the OLL community on the life of refugee families is heartfelt and needed. They have put in many long hours organizing this drive, and I appreciate their dedication in making this world a better place for all."

But the community can also help, by providing cash donations or items on the list.

Here’s what’s needed for the drive:

  • Cleaning supplies (cleaning fluids, sponges, rags, brooms, mops, etc.);

  • Shower curtains and liners;

  • Floor and table lamps that have bulbs and shades;

  • Large cooking pots and pans, dishware, glasses, coffee mugs and other kitchen items (sharp knives, tea kettles, rice cookers, non-electric can openers, cooking utensils, silverware, cutting boards);

  • Sheets (twin, double or queen, but not king), blankets that match the sheet sizes, pillows;

  • Storage containers (for smaller closets), personal care items (soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shower gel), hair and skin products for people of all ethnicities;

  • Quality vacuums, and cash to buy vacuums, mattresses and laptops.

    Contact Jillian Daley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


    For more information about the Drive for Refugee Families, contact Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..