Martin Sheen rolled up his sleeves and joined five students from Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in assisting volunteers at the Dayton Foodbank Wednesday, May 30.
The actor and native Daytonian made his way back home to the Miami Valley to begin a two-day tour alongside Senator Sherrod Brown in support of his campaign for re-election. The pair helped pack lunches for area schoolchildren in need at the downtown distribution center – the destination of weekly R.E.A.C.H. service site visits by CJ students.
“I’m very proud to see so many Eagles here today from Chaminade Julienne, my alma mater,” said the 1958 graduate of Chaminade High School, who was known as Ramon Estevez to classmates. Sheen, a political activist, spoke about the influence being part of a Catholic, Marianist community had early in his adulthood.
“I was inspired and nourished by the basic, fundamental education of service to others. That’s how we really grow ourselves is giving to others,” Sheen said.
“We can’t really know ourselves except through community. None of us live an isolated life. We’re made to walk the journey alone, but we can’t do it without community. So I’m so proud to be associated with Chaminade Julienne and see so many wonderful young volunteers here,” he said.
During the morning event, CJ juniors Mikaela Hadaway, Elizabeth Terzian and Peter Evans along with sophomores Logan Cobbs and Maggie Mochty worked to sort more than 100,000 pounds of donations, which were the result of the 2012 Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
"I thought it was very nice that Mr. Sheen took the time to stop at The Foodbank in Dayton, Ohio," Hadaway said.
Together, the group organized food from the single-day, national drive held May 12. The drive was facilitated by mail carriers, who picked up donations left at mailboxes. The Foodbank will send collection items to benefit those in need at area food pantries and community centers in the Miami Valley.
"I think it brought back good memories for Mr. Sheen. He told the students that he found his love for service during his time at CJ," said the junior, who also got her start serving at CJ through R.E.A.C.H. visits to The Foodbank.
“I’ve heard it said that justice is the public face of love,” Sheen said, “and feeding people is the most fundamental corporal work of mercy – that’s how we learned it as youngsters –so this is a reflection of a community that is doing justice to its less fortunate members.”
Before getting back on the campaign trail, the two took a short detour, walking down Washington Street to Chaminade Julienne, where students, faculty and staff had the pleasure of visiting and shaking hands with Sheen in the halls of his alma mater.
“The spirit of the founders of our school to which Martin spoke about today continues to inspire today’s generation of students,” said Dan Meixner, CJ president. In the 2011-12 school year, students across all grade levels combined to contribute more than 10,000 service hours beyond religion curriculum requirements.
“We are blessed by the continuing commitment of the sisters, brothers, and priests who foster our mission and by the examples of service and excellence demonstrated each day by the graduates of Julienne, Chaminade, St. Joseph, and, for the last forty years, Chaminade Julienne,” Meixner said.
At CJ, Sheen received hugs, took photos, signed a few autographs, and revisited relics from the past including the newly installed Julienne stained glass window and his 1958 Chaminade senior class composite photograph that hangs above the lockers.
“I always say, it is a pleasure to return from whence I came,” Sheen said.