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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Feeling Good at Clare House

by Bill Tolone

     When we volunteer at Clare House, it's easy to feel good when we think we're "making a difference" in people's lives by distributing food to our sisters and brothers in need. While there's some truth in this, it's dangerous to believe that only we are the ones helping others to grow and "help themselves." What is equally true is that, when our sisters and brothers come to us at Clare House in need of food, they are the ones who help us grow in many ways. We owe them thanks for this chance to act within God's plan. This is truly a win-win situation.
     What if Clare House didn't exist? Would our sisters and brothers still find food in other places within Bloomington-Normal? Probably. But, as part of the Catholic Worker Movement, Clare House provides a unique opportunity for all of us to show our love and concern for each other. What we do at Clare House does not result in monetary gain for anyone. Nor does volunteering at Clare House necessarily give us any privileged status. Being a part of Clare House is simply a way to show that we're all in this together.
     Many years ago, I read an article entitled "It's Not Easy Being Green," dealing with the topic of biracial or multiracial lineage. The author, who was biracial, talked about her difficulties in "fitting in" with others who were not--at least visibly--biracial or multiracial. At Clare House, it is easy being "green" because we realize that we all share many racial, ethnic, gender and lifestyle characteristics. In other words, we realize that in many ways we are all the same on this earth. We can talk with and relate to each other in so many ways. We can even come to better understand each other.
     So, who benefits the most from Clare House?

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