A team of Carmel Catholic High School students and staffers will spend part of the winter break in downstate Washington, helping victims of November's devastating tornado.
Fifty students will make the one-day trip Friday. They'll organize and distribute food in a free grocery store established for people affected by the disaster.
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Thirty-two of the student volunteers are members of Carmel's varsity football team. The other 18 are in the Mundelein school's social justice club.
Six teachers and coaches will participate, too.
A football player suggested the effort, said Michael Fitzgibbons, an assistant coach and one of Carmel's campus ministers. Head football Coach Andy Bitto arranges an annual service project for his players, Fitzgibbons said.
"This is right up their alley," he said.
The group will start the day by celebrating Mass at St. Patrick Church in Washington.
Afterward, they'll work at the Sunnyside Distribution Center. The volunteers also will organize clothes and other items in a store adjacent to the grocery store.
"It's a really, really neat thing," Fitzgibbons said. "They want to do work, and they're going to go down there and do work."
The storm killed two people and destroyed hundreds of homes and other buildings.
The families of several current and former Carmel staffers were affected, Fitzgibbons said.