By Penni Cannova, Photos Bill Archer
As we relinquish the last weeks of summer, we sense the coming season with the changing temperatures.
Schedules re-impose themselves on each of us as we turn our thoughts from summer days to fall plans. As a parish, our Human Needs Ministries, under the direction of Lisa Puclik, are eager to meet the needs of our surrounding community as we look ahead to the holidays.
September is National Hunger Action Month. During the weekends of September 19-20, and, 26-27, our Focus on Hunger ministry team will ask parishioners to contribute to Thanksgiving meals for our neighbors who are struggling this year. Like last year, instead of asking for individual turkeys and canned goods, it was found we could work through existing food distribution networks to reach the most people in the most effective manner. For a $20 donation — though any amount is joyfully welcomed — St. Isidore can utilize the purchasing power of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, working through the Neighborhood Food Pantries, to purchase a Thanksgiving feast for eight. The dinner features turkey as the centerpiece, vegetables, stuffing and gravy as the side dishes, and a dessert to round out the feast. In October, the donations will be tallied; we’ll count those who expressed a need for help in getting the holiday meal on the table this year and place the order. Once delivered to our parish, our team ensures the meals are taken to the Bloomingdale Township Food Pantry and also facilitates a pick-up from Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Chicago, which we have supported for many years.
For those who may miss the wonderful camaraderie of sorting and packing for the food drive each year, Lisa emphasized that it was a wonderful time of togetherness and giving, and worked well for many years. Now, though, the number of recipients has grown, and our team also found a problem: each year, despite having numerous families register, less than 50% of those requesting help were coming to St. Isidore to pick up their dinners. Various situations, such as a lack of transportation or needing to work during our distribution time, prevented them from picking up the very food we so very much wanted to share with them. Having the food available at the Bloomingdale Township Food Pantry allows families to pick up at a more convenient time and location.
Also, to fill that wonderful need in ourselves to physically work alongside each other to help our neighbors, our Focus on Hunger Ministry is coordinating two days of service, Saturday October 17 By Penni Cannova, Photos Bill Archer and November 21, from 9:00 -11:30 am, at the Northern Illinois Food Bank site in Geneva at 273 Dearborn Court. Sign-ups for one of the 60 slots available each day will take place during the same weekends when donations will be collected for the Thanksgiving Meal Boxes. We will work as a parish team to sort food — and witness the staggering volume of food they distribute each day.
Also, we can look forward this year at Christmastime to our Adopt-A-Family drive, the Giving Tree, as well as the Toys for Tots campaign that we participate in each year.
With a new way of giving to our neighbors at Thanksgiving, and our traditions continuing at Christmas, we have much to look forward to, and contribute to, over these most special holidays.