Dear Parishioners and Friends,
I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying what this season of gratitude brings.
One of the topics that many parishioners often ask me about the Giving Bank is our Monday food distribution. Therefore, I thought I’d paint a picture for you…
…It’s early Monday morning and all is a buzz at the Giving Bank. Clients are lined up, visiting, and catching up on their week’s happenings as they wait for our weekly food distribution.
Volunteers are arriving and working alongside the three staff members. They begin to set up the respective “stations” to offer our services to our clients. There’s our Clothing Ministry, where our clients can receive gently used clothes and household goods that many of you so generously donate. In our work room, reusable bags that have been filled with non-perishables by our Sunday Bagging Crew are now being stocked with meat, frozen food items, and eggs from the Egg Station, where volunteers clean each egg that is given out. We are fortunate to partner with our Holy Family School and have a rotating group of 7th graders who come to serve as our Hospitality Crew each week. They, along with their class aid and a few parent volunteers, prepare fresh fruit, cheese, and crackers to be served to those in line. We have two or three people who prepare lunches for those living on the streets to be served through Tuesday. Can you believe they make 100 lunches?! Meanwhile, outside St. Joseph’s Center, our Farmer’s Market prep is in full swing! There are clients who help bring tables out and cover them with butcher paper for produce to be set upon. As the produce, bread, and dairy items are brought out, volunteers then sort and place them on the tables for our clients to make their selections for their families.
All of this occurs before 8:00 a.m.!
At 8:45 a.m., the volunteers gather inside for prayer before the 9:00 a.m. distribution begins. Prayer is very special and each volunteer is given the opportunity for his/her personal intentions to be heard aloud. After prayer, special announcements are made. Then each volunteer goes to his/her designated area where they complete various tasks to assist in the flow of an orderly distribution. We continue to give out food until 10:45 a.m. Then, the clean-up begins. Any leftover food is transported to Catholic Charities – Juan Diego House in El Monte for same day distribution. At 11:00 a.m., our luncheon clients begin to stop by to pick up their lunch, eat and rest. We continue to serve lunch and clean up for the rest of the day and then we begin to prepare for next Monday.
I’m happy to share the above with you, just as I am when someone asks me in person. I feel it’s important for me to say that I’m grateful for your interest, I’m grateful for your time, and I’m grateful for the many donations that make our services possible for those whom we serve.
Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving,
Director of Community Services