Donations are no longer being accepted.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


By Tina Sipula

     Spring was short-lived here in Central Illinois, but with it and the Lenten Promise of hope and resurrection, we were very blessed by the generosity of several churches and organizations that did food drives for us.  We thank two churches, especially, Holy Apostles Orthodox Church and St. John’s Lutheran Church, who annually collect food for us during the whole Lenten Season.  Both churches get their youth groups involved to collect and deliver the food during their 40 days of fasting and good works.  Truckloads of canned goods and dry goods were hauled in by young strong arms each week and we are encouraged to be witnesses of their faith in action.
     Last week was the annual Postal Worker’s food drive, and we were blessed to receive a truckload of food from the generosity of many within our community.  We have been promised a collection from the Mennonite Church this summer, and we hope that more churches or organizations or Bible Study Camps would adopt us also.  It is these mini-food drives that help us get through the summer months when our numbers in the line and at the soup kitchen swell.
     Approximately 80-100 people are in our food line, and our soup kitchen, “Loaves and Fishes,” feeds about the same number of folks each week.  With school letting out soon, we know there will be many children at our door and at our tables.  Last week, one of our benefactors donated 90 Subway sandwiches to the soup kitchen, and it was a real treat!  For the past few months, Schooner’s Restaurant has donated soup and bread to “Loaves and Fishes,” and we all feel as if we have suddenly gone gourmet!  One day, while feasting at Schooner’s, I was so impressed with their tomato basil soup that I asked for the recipe.  One of the owners of the restaurant replied, “Better yet, we will make it and bring it to you with homemade bread from the Grove Street Bakery!”  We pray it is a relationship that will last a long time!
     Our annual summer visitors, Fr. Patrick Caveglia and Moira Sennet will arrive to bless our home in July.  Fr. Patrick has been vacationing here at Clare House since we opened in 1978, but it is more of a vacation for me, as he takes over much of the cooking, pitches in at the soup kitchen and helps Bob and I put up sweet corn for the winter.  Moira has been helping out every summer for about a dozen years and loves our trips to the soup kitchen and helps me can and freeze what is donated from local gardens.  As a teacher of English and Theology, she scours the Clare House library and works on lesson plans to promote moral and ethical teachings to combat a world seemingly gone mad with consumerism, war, and injustice and a church hierarchy that runs rampant with rules, rubrics and sexism.  Moira also gives Bob and me a little break so we can take our summer week off so we can have time to ourselves. August means many gardens will be flourishing.  For the first time, Illinois Wesleyan University is growing a garden for us, and we are delighted!  The people in our lines seldom get fresh produce, so we are happy to pass it on to them each summer and autumn.  If you have extra to share, just put it on our front porch with any bags you may have, and it will disappear very quickly.  (I swear there are people living in our front yard tree and just watch for what lands on the porch!)
     We dedicate this humble issue to how small things can make a big difference in the world.  Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, dedicated her life to living the Gospel, among the destitute, the homeless, the sick and unwanted and worked “little by little” to restore them to dignity and self-respect.  If everyone does their little part, what a different and blessed world this would be!

Photos of our Helpers....

Back to Front:  Lilly Gudeman, Reece Bauer, Violet Gudeman
The girls are placing homemade corn muffins from The Grove Street Bakery on a tray.
Hiram Gudeman, age 5
Sweeps the floor at the  soup kitchen.

Tina having fun at the soup kitchen!

Jerry Green and Mike McNeil clean off trays.

St. Patrick's Day Fun!

Do Small Things with Great Love

“What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do.  The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things.  But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
    -Mother Teresa of Calcutta
(Albania-born Indian Missionary and Founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity.
  Nobel Prize for Peace awarded in 1979.  1910-1997)

This month’s newsletter is dedicated to all those who do “small things with great love.”  We can’t all discover a cure for cancer, negotiate a peace settlement, or invent Facebook, but we can change the world one word, one thought, or one deed at a time.  If your church, group, school, department at work, or neighborhood is looking for a service project, please consider a food drive to support the Clare House.  Together, we can accomplish something wonderful!
          -Nancy Cruse, editor

In Their Own Words...

Girl Scout Troop 1335
Food Drive

In February, Girl Scout Troop 1335 from Sugar Creek Elementary in Normal, headed up by Christy McBride did a food drive for the Clare House as a service project.  In their own words, the girls share about the experience and helping others meant to them.

“I felt happy about doing the food drive and it was really fun.  It was the nicest thing for Clare House.  Also was surprised of how many can goods we got out of all the kids (in our troop).  It was fun!”
                              -Madisyn Gravitt

 “I had fun going around houses to get can goods.  It was fun!  It was nice to get can foods for Clare House even though it was cold.  It was nice for us to do that.”
                              -Kai Curtis-Watts

“The thing I like about going on the food drive was we got to hang out with friends and donating stuff to others, but I also hated it our troop leader lost her gloves and we had to go look for them.  The first thing we had to do was memorize a thing that we were going to say when we asked for donations.  I love the food drive!”
                              -Naomi Barth

“I thought it was awesome to collect food.  One reason was because I got in the group of my best, best, best friend.  We collected lots and lots and lots of food.”
                              -Allison McBride

“I had lots of fun while I was gathering food on Hanson with Maddie and Sierra.  It was fun because I got to go to Maddie’s house and my house!  This one creepy guy gave us a TON of popcorn.”
                              -Megan O’Connell

“I felt good about the food drive.  My best friend was in my group!”
                              -Grace Skeate

            “I thought the food drive was creative way for girls to give people food and have fun at it.  I think girls should join Girl Scouts and have fun.”
                              -Madison McCraw

“I feel good helping people.  The food drive is a fun way to do that.”
                              -Ella Nicolaides

          “I think the food drive was really fun.  It was fun helping to help people.”
                              -Aresa Anderson

          “When I did the food drive, I felt like I was helping people who couldn’t afford food that my family can.  I felt I was going around to ask people to donate food for a good reason.  I appreciated the people who would donate food to people that couldn’t afford the food.  I was glad to help out people that weren’t as fortunate with money as my family.”
                              -Paige McBride   

      “I had fun and felt really good because I knew I was doing something good.”
                              -Morgan Forrest

God Bless America and the Clare House

Food Drive on the Fourth of July

By Nancy Cruse

          In the Crestwicke subdivision, we have an annual tradition on the Fourth of July.  Our neighborhood puts on a parade to show our love for our country and our gratitude for those who serve in the military. In 2006 we added another element to the parade:  a food drive for the Clare house.  In addition to decorating bikes, pets, and golf carts, the neighborhood starts dropping donations off to our front porch from June 20th to July 4th.  We also collect food as we walk the parade route.  The first year we collect 257 items.  Last year, our 6th year, we were able to drop off nearly 3000 items to the Clare House Food Pantry. 
          What are you doing this Fourth of July?  Does your neighborhood have a parade?  Are you going to a family reunion?  Maybe you could incorporate helping those in our community who are in need by asking your friends and family to bring donations for the Clare House.
          Even the smallest food drive makes a big difference!

A Quote from Helen Keller

 “I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
I will not refuse to do
The something I can do.
-Helen Keller

Thank you to Trish Tilton for contributing this quote from Helen Keller.  In Trish’s word, “Proof that little things make a big difference.  One person, one act of kindness, one great idea, one decimal point, one smile, one touch, one minute, one second…they all have the power to make a huge difference.  So do we all!”

Small Things Make a Big Difference



By Edward Ramos, Jr.

You may read this title and say, “Wow that is true.”  But let’s think about it.  How many of you have seen a hole in a stone caused by the continual run of water drops?  Or how many have seen a kitchen sink stained by the continual drip of water from the faucet?  Small things over time can make a big difference. 
How about when we serve others or give?  Every week volunteers deliver food and other items to Clare House, everything from a tooth brush to diapers to bags of groceries.  Whatever the size, even the small things help make a difference in the lives of so many that cannot afford to feed themselves.  Every bag of groceries assembled for distribution has a combination of many small things that make a big difference in a person’s life.  They include vegetables, protein, fruit, soup and toiletries.  You might think that a little donation of one or two items doesn’t matter, but they do.  As the volunteers stack and package these bags of care, they include small things; things that show concern and empathy for another’s burden; and that is big.
Even the volunteers come in all sizes, from small to big, from children to adults.  Many times there are cub scouts or children with their parents that deliver groceries.  These kids are truly amazing, carrying large bags that sometimes are larger than themselves, but they make that big difference, all the while huffing and puffing from the car to our door.  Even Jesus spoke many times about the small things in this world, the birds of the air, the scattered seed or the little children: 

And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”  Matthew 10:42

Today giving someone a cup of cold water in the United States is nothing much, it may be considered insignificant.  You can buy bottled water in a supermarket or visit a public building and locate a water fountain.  But in some parts of the world, it is a big thing because many water supplies are dirty, diseased, or contaminated.  If a small cup of water is associated with a reward, how about toiletries, or groceries, or other donations.  Truly these are other “small things” but they will make a “big difference” in a person’s life, or their family.  Thanks again for giving the small things and making a big difference, either through giving, volunteering or donating.

Coming together to help the Clare House

MUSIC CONNECTIONS FOUNDATION teams with US Cellular Coliseum to Sponsor Clare House Food Drive at Central Illinois Drive Basketball Game

By Kathryn Henderson– Founder/Director,
Music Connections Foundation

I often dream about what the world would be like if people of all races, colors and religions came together and shifted their day to day focus from how to provide for self to “How can I be a contribution?”   This is a prayer I use daily:  “Lord, show me, today, how I can be a contribution.”   The act of looking for ways to help, however, often gets buried in day to day “must dos” – the logistics of daily living.   Perhaps you’ll consider a raised awareness over the next months to reaching OUT, to others, instead of IN, to ‘self.’   Here’s a secret: it makes a difference for others, but it also makes a difference to the giver.  You’ll receive more than you give.  
In March we learned that a scheduled food drive in conjunction with a Central Illinois Drive basketball might not happen.   We, at Music Connections Foundation (MCF), who serve well over 300 (primarily middle class) families each week with an early childhood music program, took action.  Time was short, and the results of what we could do were unknown, but, in blind faith, we moved to action, thinking that some action was better than no action, after all.  The folks at the US Cellular Coliseum were wonderful, offering discounted tickets to incentivize donations, providing receptacles, and even delivering the food to Clare House on our behalf.   The Drive Basketball team supported us as well. We combined an awareness day for Kindermusik – our program that makes a difference in optimal early childhood development – with an effort to give back.   Our MCF Families brought in non-perishable goods to class for two weeks, or to the “Drive” basketball game that Saturday.  In return for bringing an item, they received a discounted ticket to the game that day;  they visited our promo “booth,” where they could purchase a tee shirt to further our Not for Profit cause of reaching needy families with music education in the early years, or register for free giveaways.   We provided free tickets to some families enrolled in some of our own not-for-profit initiatives – what a wonderful chance to see a first-rate professional basketball team!    Some of our Kindermusik “graduates” sang the National Anthem that day.   One highlight

was when one of our good friends – of both Clare House and Kindermusik – came in the door with wagons and boxes full of sanitary products she had collected in response to information about Clare House’s specific need, for such products.   People of all ages and all religions and all races stepped forward to help others they did not, nor never would, know.  I dream of a world dedicated to reaching out!  I believe in the possibilities, and the innate nature of good in people.  And I believe that, with each of us doing our part – even a small part - the world would be a better place! 

Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.
-Frank Howard Clark

Mustard Seeds are Very Small

Mustard Seeds are Very Small

Jesus said: "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move hence to yonder place,' and it will move;  and nothing will be impossible to you."
(Matthew, 17:20)

            This is a familiar parable told by Jesus and present in the texts of more than one Gospel writer.  While it teaches a very basic lesson regarding our faith, it also has very practical applications in our lives.  If a small amount of faith can, in fact, "move mountains," then what we, as individuals, do, can make a great difference in the lives of many people.

            The generosity of people in our community is wonderful to behold.  While Clare House's annual food drive results in thousands of donated food items, we are continually blessed by individuals and families and churches and organizations who, throughout the course of each year, continue to bring food to us so that we can meet the weekly needs of many who come to our door.

            Do you know what goes into each bag of food at Clare House to be given to our sisters and brothers in need?  4 cans of vegetables, 4 cans of protein (such as beans, meat, tuna, spaghetti), 2 cans of soup, 2 cans of fruit, 2 or 3 other items such as pasta, cereal, cake or pancake mix, and whatever toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toilet paper) we have in stock.  As we place each can or item in a bag, it seems like such a small thing to help people deal with daily hunger and personal needs.  But, when each bag is full and heavy to lift, we realize that "small things, taken together, can make a difference" in people's lives. 

            Typically, each week we distribute 150-200 bags of food to our brothers and sisters; sometimes more.  Multiply that by 10-12 cans and items per bag and the number can be overwhelming--1500-2500 cans and items of food each week.  Multiply that by 52 weeks--well, you can see how each donation of even 1 can or item of food is necessary to meet the needs of folks in Bloomington-Normal.  Together, we, as individual "mustard seeds" can move a mountain and make a huge difference in people's lives.
            Today, with over 300 million people in the United States and over 7 billion people in the world, many of whom are living in abject poverty and hunger, it's easy to feel that we, as individuals, are unable to do much to help others; that one person can't make a difference.  But, that's not true, because together, our seemingly small efforts do add up to make a significant difference.  That's what happens at Clare House and why we feel so blessed to be in a community that cares for those who are less fortunate.