By Tina Sipula
Autumn’s first snow blessed the morning as I loaded up the truck for the soup kitchen today. Thankfully, Gerry and Brian were there to meet me and help unload the veggies that were shared by the garden from Resurrection Lutheran Church, and then we transferred the huge pile of card board boxes to Gerry’s truck for him to take on to recycle. Darlene stood at the door, disgruntled as usual, and I asked her what was wrong. “I have to wait until 9:00 for the door to open.” “It’s after nine, Dear.” Her response was one of her favorite expletives, but I was not deterred by her countenance and went in to be greeted by many warm smiles. In my arm was the memorial plaque that carries the names of the Loaves and Fishes deceased volunteers. “Is Glenn’s name on there?” a young woman asked. “Yes, it’s here,” I responded, recalling the long wake line I stood in last week.
Glenn Leary volunteered at Loaves and Fishes every Tuesday morning for the past three years. His friends told me that he gave up many a golf game and luncheon with the guys because he would not miss working at the soup kitchen. At the young age of 59, Glenn passed in his sleep from a heart attack. He will be sorely missed by many people he worked with and served over the years. God speed, gentle Glenn.
Tina Sipula on the Clare House porch surrounded by kids and books.
The founder of the Little Free Library Project, Todd Bol, came to visit us in mid-August and donated two more free libraries to local food pantries. He spoke at Holy Trinity Parish Center and showed a short film about the history of his wonderful project that has expanded across the globe. The Free Little Library project is one of the most fun things we have ever done here at Clare House. Bill Tolone collects books for children each week and when I go to check our library it always has a new collection in it. One day, a woman hopped off the bus just to see what it was and was delighted to discover a free library in her neighborhood.
Our Catholic Worker friends, Chris Dunn, Elizabeth Russell and their daughter, Siobhan, came to visit us for an overnight from Rock Island. We had some great talks, walks, and shared meals around the table and wish we had more time to visit and share our love of music.
Many thanks to all who shared their garden produce with us this summer and fall. It was a bumper crop for peppers, tomatoes and especially, apples this year. Many times our porch was laden with fresh delectable items that disappeared quickly. I had fun one morning trying to explain, in Spanish, how to make zucchini bread. Eventually I ended up going into the house and getting all the ingredients and writing out the amounts to the gathered women.
Bless all of you who help in any way – those who bag groceries, those who haul in food, collect food, those who help at the soup kitchen, help with the newsletter, fix our plumbing and doors and walls, those who grow food for the poor, and for all who remember us in prayer. It is a time of Thanksgiving and we are ever so grateful for all of you!