By Tina Sipula
For the first time in 20 years, our Annual Holiday Food Drive did not reach the goal of raising 9 semi-truck loads of food. We were about 30% down this past year, but we are not discouraged. We thank all who helped in any way – be it with food or if you came out to help in the warehouse. After The Pantagraph published our despairing news, more food came during the Christmas holiday, and we are hoping folks will remember us throughout the year. If you have a business and would like to put a small box out for us during the year and bring it by once a week, we would greatly appreciate it. Or, when you are out shopping, if you have a few extra dollars to purchase a few cans of soup or fruit, a box of cereal or some large diapers, it would help us to continue to serve. I have never been discouraged, as I know we are in the hands of God and those in need will be cared for by those who hear their plea. Perhaps now, during Lent, you could make a commitment to set aside a bit for the poor each week and throughout the year. Most of us are familiar with “giving up something for Lent;” could we pledge to support and love throughout the year and give back?
Many thanks go out to the university students who have been coming to help hand out food on Friday afternoons. They come early to visit, and have lots of fun on the stairs passing up the many bags of food. Those of us who are too old to hoist the 50-80 bags up to the door are so thankful for their strength and youth, but mostly thankful that they understand the importance of our ministry and are committed to coming each week. Soon they will be graduating or moving on for the summer, so if there are folks who can help us on Fridays from 12:45 – 1:15, beginning in mid-May, please let us know.One of the most difficult jobs for me over these past 37 years, has been answering the phone. Especially during the holidays, the phone can be non-stop, so our dear, sweet, Mary Smith, offered to take over the job, and I suddenly became a better person. Mary answered the phone for over a year, and I believe, helped me to be gentler and kinder to myself and others and helped Bob and I have a happier marriage. Mary is stepping down and taking on other duties, and now we have Cathy Hopper to thank for taking on this very important task. So if you do call the Clare House line, Cathy is trained to help you out or she will get in touch with me if needed.
A big thanks goes out to Nancy Cruse, who again sponsored the “Project Love the Ladies Lent Event,” where she collected thousands of sanitary pads and personal items for our women in the line. Not many people are aware that many necessary items cannot be purchased with food stamps – not only pads and tampons, but people cannot get soap, shampoo, toothpaste, or toilet paper. So please remember the ladies when you are shopping, and if you travel, please bring us the motel samples of shampoo, lotion and soap. (And it is Nancy who puts together this wonderful newsletter all these years!!)
We wish everyone a blessed and joyful Easter! On behalf of all of our brothers and sisters you help to serve, we thank you for helping to not only provide for their needs but for helping them to know they are beloved, and a part of the family of God.