When Jocelyn Morffi, a first-grade teacher at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami, was talking to her students two years ago about recent tragedies in the world, she was inspired to show them that there is hope in the community.
Then, a year later, she brainstormed with her new group of students about ways they could “teach hope” to the community.
They came up with the idea to feed the homeless.
“My children would make the sandwiches during class and then I would go out, along with volunteers, and pass them out on the weekend,” said Morffi, 29.
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They started with 20 sandwiches.
After that first encounter, Morffi launched #teachHope70x7, an organization to show her students there is hope for a better future if everyone gets involved and does his or her part.
Morffi came up with the name #teachHope70x7.
Teach hope represents exactly what it says: teaching hope to the community. The 70x7 part of the name comes from a biblical term, when one of the disciples, Peter, asked Jesus how many times he has to forgive his brother.
She wanted to instill this with her children, so they could do the same with others.
“I tell the kids, ‘How many times do you have to teach hope?’ You have to forgive him 70x7, which is another way of saying infinity all the time,” Morffi said. “It’s a constant reminder that it’s not just today, but it’s tomorrow. This is something you have to do for the rest of your life. You should want to do for the rest of your life.”
Using Instagram and word-of-mouth, #teachHope70x7 goes out once a month on a designated Sunday and distributes lunches and hope to the homeless in the downtown Miami area.
“I tapped into Instagram and told everyone to follow my page, and if they post random acts of kindness, I would post it on my classroom wall as decoration,” Morffi said.
Although #teachHope70x7 is an independent organization, the support of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School has allowed it to expand with supplies and volunteers.
“When I came back from that first feeding, I asked the school if it’s possible for them to back me up, and I got authorization to send out a letter to the parents stating what’s going on and if they would like to contribute in any way,” Morffi said.
Now Morffi places a sheet outside of the classrooms where each grade can sign up to make the sandwich bags for a specific month.
Since the announcement letter, parents have willingly donated loaves of bread, meats, cheeses and several other snacks to go in the bags.
Suzette Megias Ruiz, a coworker of Morffi’s and mother of four, has witnessed how #teachHope70x7 has helped her children to appreciate how blessed they are.
“My kids are so passionate about #teachHope70x7. They wake me up bright and early on Sunday saying, ‘Mom, we have to teach hope today.’ Seeing their passion for giving back has really inspired me to get involved,” said Ruiz, 39.
The bags consist of a sandwich, chips, cookies and a drink.
The students also decorate the outsides of the bags with handwritten messages.
Some of the messages read: “God’s with you”, “Keep Hope”, “Don’t Worry”, “We’re Praying for you”, “We love you.”
Starting off with 20 sandwich bags, #teachHope70x7 never thought it would give out 1,651 bags in the first year and keep growing.
“We doubled that this year by making 2,416 sandwich bags,” Morffi said.
The group’s next scheduled trip to feed the homeless is Sunday, July 19. Everyone is welcome to join.
“I hope for this to continue and grow throughout the community and eventually branch out to high schools, so there is a program where they want to ‘teach hope’ in concept,” Morffi said. “May this be a program they take pride in and it be something they want to do and look forward to doing.”
If you go
▪ What: #teachHope70x7 Homeless Feeding.
▪ When: Sunday, July 19.
▪ Where: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School Basketball Courts 1435 SW 12th Ave, Miami.
▪ Time: Meet at 9:30 a.m., Departure for the streets of Downtown Miami at 10 a.m.
▪ For more information, go to teachHope70x7.com, follow @teachHope70x7 on Instagram and Facebook or send an email to teachHope70x7@gmail.com for opportunities to give or donate supplies.