top of page

Tea Area senior seeks community help for senior project

One Tea Area senior thought the Christmas season would be the perfect time to do his senior project.

Nate Kocer, 17, decided to collect donations for the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House for his senior project. His mentor, the Rev. Kevin O’Dell, the priest at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Tea, said Kocer came up with the idea to gather items between Dec. 20 and Jan. 3.

“I wanted to do something with the church. I thought that if I could just run a drive, but I didn’t know where. Then my mom told me about Bishop Dudley (Hospitality House),” Kocer said.

For his senior project, Kocer needs to complete five mentor hours with his mentor, O’Dell. Once he has completed the project, he needs to write a six-page paper about it and present his project in front of a panel of judges.

“You have to show what you did and how it changed things,” Kocer said.

As part of his mentor hours, Kocer is going as an adult volunteer with O’Dell and confirmation students to make meals at Kids Against Hunger.

“I think just the whole idea of getting to know the fact that right here in this city there are people that are starving and then we reach out in Kids Against Hunger to help feed people overseas,” O’Dell said.

Kocer will have donation boxes available at St. Nicholas, Pizza Ranch, Sunshine Foods and Trinity Lutheran Church in Tea. A box will also be set up at St. Magdalen Catholic Church in Lennox. Donations can be left between Dec. 20 and Jan. 3.

“Nate’s done a really good job of thinking this thing through and figuring out how to do it. I’ve just made some contacts,” O’Dell said.

The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House is in desperate need of disposable razors, elbow macaroni and six 32-gallon wheeled trash cans. They also need men’s medium underwear, non-latex disposable surgical gloves and shampoo and soap in both travel size and full size. They also have wishes of gently used musical instruments. They will also accept gift cards to HyVee, Franklin Foods, Sam’s Club, WalMart and Target.

According to their website,, it “greatly benefits from generous donations of clothing, toiletry items, food, gift cards and other necessities. The men, women and family guests receive a noon meal each day, a hot shower, toiletries and a clean, safe bed each night.”

Since Jan. 12, the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House has provided 10,968 safe nights, served 1,275 unique guests, served 12,709 meals and transitioned to permanent housing 37 families, 20 women, 51 men and 148 children.

bottom of page