Elder students help the homeless at Maslow’s Army week after week

Logo for Maslows Army that shows their motto and purpose.


Logo for Maslow’s Army that shows their motto and purpose.

At Elder High School, service is a major part of the student’s curriculum and upbringing.  We are taught to help those in our community that need support.  Well, a group of students seem to do that week after week.  Although service is mandatory at Elder, these students exceed what is required and strive to help more every week at Maslow’s Army.

Maslow’s Army is non-profit organization located in downtown Cincinnati that helps the homeless find shelter, clothing and food.  Every week they try to set up a camp by the justice center, and they give out donated clothing, pizza and other food, and more importantly, chances to better their current situation.  Elder teacher Tom Nugent volunteers just about every weekend and is the reason the Panthers are out there too.

Mr.  Nugent started volunteering during the summer of 2018 because of a crazy coincidence in the newspaper.  After being diagnosed with cancer for the second time, Mr. Nugent had to have surgery to remove his kidney and through a crazy turn of events, he found out about Maslow’s Army.

“There was an article written in the Enquirer about the support I received from the lacrosse community, there was a related article that had to do with Maslow’s Army because Sam Landis who started the organization played lacrosse in high school and he has just been named honorary captain for Milford lacrosse. I read the article, called Sam, and a week after my kidney was removed I went to volunteer the first time.”   Luckily, Mr. Nugent found this article because many lives have been changed due to this organization and the help of the Elder community.

Mr. Nugent brings students to help those in need at Maslow’s Army. (Tom Nugent)

I was curious as the why Mr. Nugent though to bring his students from school to help out on Sundays at the organization.  He said, “I took my daughters to Maslow’s multiple times in that summer of 2018 and they really enjoyed it, so felt like it would be a great fit for leadership and the motto of Altiora, then it has taken on a life of its own.”  Now, at least 10 students come out to help the community every weekend; however, Mr. Nugent believes there is a bit of help with that.  “My belief is that God is working through us to help those in need.”  I believe this statement is true, and it can be seen at work in the faces of those impacted.

One aspect of this journey that surprises me the most is the takeoff it has had in the Elder community.  “I have seen the effect on the students and more importantly on the people we help each time we take time out to give a hand up never a hand out each Sunday. The generosity of the Elder families has been unbelievable but I believe it is at the core of what makes Elder, Elder: great people”, says Mr. Nugent.  I have been to Maslow’s Army before and it was a great experience.  It was truly a great experience to help give those in the community, and the people there always love to see the purple on Sundays.  Mr. Nugent also says, “The Elder community has and will continue to be built upon service and sacrifice, Maslow’s is a great outlet for that.”  So, don’t be afraid to come out and help.

Elder students serve the homeless pizza and other food at Maslow’s Army. (Jacob Stiens ’21)

Elder student Sam Becker, who volunteers just about every Sunday, told me why he loves the organization so much.  “It is a fun environment with lots of interesting people there, and the founders are such great people and it is special to hear their stories and where they come from.”  The founders were once in the same shoes as the people who they help and that it another reason why this organization is so unique and special.  Sam also said, “If you want to help, go see Mr. Nugent and I am sure he will be glad to have you.”

I would highly recommend going down to Maslow’s to help those in need because it is our duty to help those less fortunate.  We need to live by Altiora and strive to help and benefit our community.