Donations are no longer being accepted.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Here We Go!!!

Drop off to either Schnuck's locations in Bloomington or Normal, Extreme Motors, or Radio Bloomington.

Additional DROP OFF LOCATIONS until November 21st:
·        Wiebring Gold Club, ISU, 800 Gregory St., Normal IL, Contact Laura Provost 309-438-8065
·        ISU Fitness Center, 347 S. University, Normal, IL, Contact Valerie Curtis 309-438-7058
·        Talbots, 1515 E. Empire St, Bloomington, IL, Contact Alayna Getchell 309-662-6873 (W), 309-533-5226 (Cell)
·        Morris Tick, 501 E. Stewart St, Bloomington, IL, 309-828-6084
·        Steve Haas, State Farm Agent, 2315 E. Empire, Bloomington, IL   61704, 309-662-3456
·        Jem’s Hair Studio and Spa, 1328 E. Empire, Bloomington, IL, 309-665-0075 (collecting year-round)
·        Resurrection Lutheran Church, 4114 E. Oakland, Bloomington, IL   61704, 309-663-8252, (collecting year-round, drop-off box outside of church)

House News

Bob Sampson and Tina Sipula attending the Midwest Catholic Worker gathering at 
Great Oaks in Lacon, IL.  Over 200 people were in attendance.

by Tina Sipula

     And so, the hottest summer of our lives is behind us, and the ramifications of what that means to the farmers has not yet been tallied, or how that will reflect on our grocery costs.  A few gardeners were able to share some of their produce with us, but not as much as in the years past.  My canning this year lasted only about two days, which resulted in a few batches of tomatoes, some hot peppers and some hot pepper jelly.  Perhaps some fall produce will hit the porch with the cool weather now and folks can enjoy the nourishment of fresh squash and perhaps some beets and greens.  Thanks to all who shared, because it is so seldom the people in our lines get to eat fresh food.
     Many thanks go to Moira Sennett, who came and spent her annual 10 days at Clare House this summer.  Moira took on the project of updating our mailing list.  This was a huge project the Wednesday volunteers started months ago, but Moira tackled it and wrote out our “delete list” by hand until her fingers cramped.  She also took charge of the house with Sr. Glenda so Bob and I could have a little time away.  There is very little private time for us here at Clare House with the door bells and phone seemingly constantly ringing, so we are so grateful for the opportunity to have a break and enjoy some time together. 
     A few weeks ago, the warehouse that stores our food from our annual food drive, warned us that we would probably run out of food before our food drive starts in November.  We contacted some of the local media, and the response has been wonderful!!  We now will be able to make it and keep our doors open until the food drive begins on November 1.  Some local businesses have pledged to collect food for us beginning now and continuing until our food drive ends on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 21.  If you would like to drop off food, the following places will accept food for us during their regular business hours:  I.S.U. golf course at Gregory and Adelaide Streets in Normal, the I.S.U. Fitness Center at 347 S. University St. in Normal, and Morris Tick Co. at 501 E. Stewart St. in Bloomington.
     Our Annual Holiday Food Drive is sponsored by Extreme Motors, Radio Bloomington and both Schnuck’s Supermarkets.  This food drive is what we rely on to keep our doors open all year long.  If you can help by putting a box out at your church, business or school, we would very much appreciate it.  It is these “mini food drives” that collectively help us reach our goal of 8 to 9 semi-truck loads of food.  If you would like to volunteer to help during the food drive, we need a couple of hundred people to sort the food at the warehouse twice a week during the month of November.  If you would like to have fun doing this with a great group of people, please call Mike Marvin at:  829-1518.
     In the July-August 1940 issue of “The Catholic Worker,” Dorothy Day wrote of “The Agony of the Poor,” which is still appropriate today:
“Our greatest misery is our poverty which gnaws at our vitals, which is an agony to the families in our midst.  And the only thing we can do about it is to appeal to you, our readers, begging your help.  Those of you who read this, those of you who have helped us before, please help us.  We are stewards, and we probably manage very badly in trying to take care of all those who come, the desperate, the dispossessed.  Like Peter, they say, “To whom else shall we go?” and they are our brothers in Christ.  They are more than that; they are Christ appearing to you.  So please help us to keep going.  Help these suffering members of the sorrowing Body of Christ.”

Scenes from the Soup Kitchen

Photos, clockwise, starting in upper left hand corner:
1.      Ready to serve!,
2.      Nancy McCriskin and Debbie Mizer bagging meatballs.
3.      Debbie Mizer making chicken salad
4.      Serve it up!
5.      Making chicken salad
6.      Ladies preparing the meal

In Giving We Receive

By Jennifer Poncin

I have been helping at Clare House for almost a year.  I moved to Bloomington/Normal 3 years ago and was looking for a place where I could help others; back home, there was a local school that put on a Thanksgiving dinner for the hungry in the area, and when we moved here, I had trouble finding a place to help out that was truly in need.  There are a lot of opportunities to give in the B/N community and the fact that many places have plenty of help speaks volumes of the people who live and serve here.  But I found that Clare House had a specific need for people who could help at times I was available, and I started coming regularly to pass food out the door.  I love seeing the gratitude on the faces of those we serve, and I love that I've been able to bring my kids to help as well.  My youngest boy has come to pass out diapers, and my middle school daughter spent her summer vacation working at the soup kitchen.  It is truly rewarding work, and it's an opportunity for me to give in a way that I can; with 5 kids and one income, we can't afford to give financially, but it's nice to know that my time is appreciated just as much as if I were to make a monetary donation. 
     Seeing the efficient way that Clare House is run is impressive.  Every little thing is given away, no matter how small.  And the people I work with are pretty amazing; you never knew people who were such joyful givers of themselves!  I'm very fortunate to be involved with this organization.

The Door-Doer

By Donna the “Door-Doer” Boelen

There are many volunteers and donors that provide for the needs at Clare House.  Most are visible only to those within the walls of the building.  However, there is one person who is visible to those who stand in line week after week to receive a single bag of groceries.  That person is at the side door on Wednesday and Friday for distribution of the donations.  The one at the door sees the face of those who are frequent visitors and hears words of thanksgiving from them. Many become familiar to the point of being able to anticipating their need for diapers, baby food, etc.  In many ways they are part of Clare House’s extended family.
The person who takes the door is affectionately referred to as the “door-doer.”  I have been fortunate to have served in that capacity.  Seeing the smiles, receiving the blessings and words of thanksgiving make me feel warm inside.  Often I may have to decline a request by saying; “you get what you get,” “there are no more______”(fill in the blank) or just “no”.  At those times I realize how difficult it can be to say “no” to friends or family members, especially one’s children.
This has led me to reflect on the human relationship with God.  Humans are full of joy and thanksgiving when God responds favorably to our petitions and needs.  But we question and doubt God’s decision to decline our requests.  Given that we are God’s children who are loved unconditionally, I wonder how much more difficult it might be for Him or Her to respond; “No”.  But in my heart, I believe that God will eventually answer our prayers if we are patient and persistent.

A Note from the Editor

By Nancy L. Cruse

          With this issue of the Clare House newsletter we are kicking off the Annual Food Drive.  The thought that kept running through my head as I put together the articles submitted by the wonderful volunteers was “we are many parts, but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:20)  And as I saw the many talents and abilities each one brings to their volunteering, “There are many kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
          It never ceases to amaze me how God uses every talent and ability available, big or small, publicly or behind the scenes, old or young, to accomplish the task He sets before us.  Is God calling you to use your talents in a new way?  Your help is needed to make this year’s food drive a success!  Whatever you can do, know that it is of worth and value and helps to accomplish the goal! 

Food Drive for the Clare House Food Pantry at Weibring Golf Club

The Weibring Golf Club will be serving as a collection point for the Clare House Food Pantry September 12 through mid-November.
Please feel free to deliver canned goods, boxed food items or any non-perishable items to the collection area in the Weibring clubhouse.
          High protein items, canned fruit, and baby formula are in especially high demand.
          Thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness!

Weibring Golf Club
Illinois State University

800 W. Gregory Street
D.A. Weibring Drive
Normal, IL 61790
Phone:  (309) 438-8065


By Mary Kasher

People at Clare House 
Work hard and laugh much
We need to help all  
And always keep in touch

Caring for others
The name of the game
We love all who come here
None of whom we name

Flowing with kindness
We work hard and we toil
Sometimes Tina has us 
working the soil

The garden is small but 
The veggies shine through
Giving us fresh produce 
And some canning to do

People are so generous
The donations always come through
God continues to bless them
And gives us plenty to do

Clare House ,Clare House
provides a way for those in need
Clare House, Clare House
to work there is a really good deed

So many at Clare House 
Have figured a way
To help out the poor and brighten their day

Clare House , Clare House ----for those we do PRAY!

Feed the Body, Feed the Mind

by Bill Tolone

 Mike Marvin and Tina Sipula

 Stocking the Library

The Finished Library!

          For the past 35 years, Clare House has provided food for thousands and thousands of families and individuals.  Every year, we wonder whether we will have enough food to stay open each week.  This year is no different and we are experiencing a huge shortage of food until our shelves can be replenished by the annual Thanksgiving food drive.  Already, generous people have responded to this need with donations, but we have a long way to go.  Please consider helping us in any way you can.

          While "feeding the body" has always been our main concern, this year marks a new mission for Clare House as we have set up a Free Library in front of the building so that we can also "feed the minds" of those who come to our door for help.  Learning to read is so essential;  when someone learns to read, he or she becomes "free" to not only be more educated in general, but also to become more spiritual.  This was stated very clearly by Anton Bosch when he said:  " Just as what we feed our bodies will determine its health, so what we feed the mind will determine our spiritual health."  

          For the past few weeks, I have come to Clare House around 12:30 on Wednesdays and Fridays, when people are beginning to line up for food, and I have given books to parents and children.  I tell them to look inside our Library for other books in which they may be interested.  My hope is that they will see that a real person is bringing books to the Library and is encouraging them and their children to read.  It's especially so rewarding to see the children interested in these books.

          So, as you think of donating food to Clare House, which we desperately need, check for books in your home that you can share with others.  Bring them to our Library and put them in.  You will be amazed, as I have been, at the turnover in books as they are being shared .  Let's continue to feed Clare House people with food and books.


Many thanks to the following men who have done great work for us here at Clare House.  If you need some work done, give them a call!

·        Brad Davis at 309-275-6027 for all around home improvements.
·        Jose Sanchez at 309-275-0821 for cement work and snow removal.
·        Gary Calhoun at 309-242-8041 for architectural metal work and roofing.