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Catholic Charities food pantries work to feed hungry {ecumenical}
Today's Catholic News ^ | 12.12.12 | Lisa Kochanowski

Posted on 12/12/2012 9:52:00 PM PST by Cronos

While many families are wrestling with trying to find money to buy their child the latest Xbox, Wii or iPhone, Catholic Charities is working hard to collect food donations to give out hearty and healthy food baskets to their clients for the holidays. Catholic Charities operates food pantries in South Bend and Auburn.

“We have a different menu each week made up of 15-20 pounds of food based upon family size. This usually includes about 15 items or enough food for four meals,” said Claire Coleman, the West Region administrator at Catholic Charities. “This might include two canned vegetables, one canned fruit, one canned meat such as tuna, canned beans, peanut butter and jelly, bread, frozen meat, pancake mix, boxed milk or dried goods, pasta or rice, pasta sauce and one or two fresh items such as vegetables, fruit, eggs, yogurt and cheese. We also will distribute personal care items such as toilet paper, shampoo and toothpaste when we have it available.”

Items inside the food pantry come from a variety of different sources. In South Bend, the pantry receives support through the United Way of St. Joseph County, PGE “People Gotta Eat” Initiative and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. In Auburn, the agency is a member of the Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana and receives USDA commodities to supplement food donated by local community partners. Both agencies also rely on food drives from area churches, schools and businesses.

According to Patti Sheppard, RSVP director who works with the food pantry at the Catholic Charities office in Auburn, the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in their area donates fresh produce weekly. Items like salad bowls, chicken Caesar salad bowls, organic salads, potatoes, miniature cupcakes and stew meat have been donated.

“We are extremely fortunate to have great donations from active volunteers and organizations,” said Sheppard. Recently, an anonymous donor purchased fresh meat from a butcher and had it delivered to the food pantry.

Auburn also runs two unique programs through their food pantry: A winter coat distribution project and backpack distribution before school starts. Donations of coats, hats, mittens and scarves are given to needy families. Currently 552 coats, 319 hats, 449 pairs of mittens and 31 scarves have been distributed.

Everyone has a wish list and items like fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, butter, yogurt and cheese are a few items Coleman would love to be able to add to food baskets. Sheppard would like to see paper products and toiletries.

“These items are more expensive than purchasing canned goods but we feel it is important to include more nutritious foods in our menu so we try to always include what we can of fresh items,” said Coleman. Items like crackers, a cake mix and pudding are all treats the clients seem to enjoy receiving. Seniors enjoy getting coffee and tea. Cooking oil, sugar, flour and condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, syrup and salad dressing are also popular items.

As families journey through the Advent season of giving and faith, it is important to remember those people hit by the hard economic times in the country. A person does not have to give hundreds of dollars; a simple collection of food around the neighborhood can help a family in need.

“We would love it if school, church or community groups would sponsor a food drive to benefit the clients of the Catholic Charities’ Food Pantry at any point throughout the year. Of course, we welcome and appreciate individual donations in support of the food pantry as well,” Coleman said.

“If you’re out shopping, get an extra bar of soap or bottle of shampoo,” said Sheppard. “Our clients are going out on job interviews and want to look their best, but can’t buy those simple items with food stamps.”

TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Religion & Politics
Now this is REAL charity, with Churches, whether Presbyterian or Catholic or Pentecostal or Baptist coming forward and the community together helping the poor

society as a whole, not government (because government wastes a lot of the supposed help on overheads)

1 posted on 12/12/2012 9:52:08 PM PST by Cronos
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To: Cronos

I always donate Turkeys to the food bank at this time of year.

2 posted on 12/12/2012 10:02:12 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: mylife

and Americans are statistically the most generous folks on earth — I see no reason for government to muck in when individuals and Churches were and are helping the less fortunate.

3 posted on 12/12/2012 10:15:22 PM PST by Cronos (**Marriage is about commitment, cohabitation is about convenience.**)
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To: Cronos
I know this is going to come off sounding completely wrong and heartless but here goes...

I have a problem with these types of charities. The early church focus was on providing needs for those in their churches. Today I believe we focus more on society in general. We believe this is "evangelistic" but in actuality I think we're just saps. And all churches are guilty of this. Giving back packs away, toiletries, food, etc. There is nothing evangelistic in giving a turkey to someone who probably buy booze with their EBT card while using their welfare checks to buy iPADs for their kids. Today a person making $29,000 is better off than someone making $70,000. All one has to do is look at their tax return and see where they fall.

Now I know someone is going to tell me about the good Samaritan or quote me James. And those are all very good points and I can't argue with them. However, Christianity is all about balance and I think we've lost that balance with free give away.

I remember someone coming to me asking me for money so they could buy something to eat. I pointed to a resturant and said that not only would I buy them lunch, but I knew of an organization that would help them find a job. They took off in a hurry. While we remember Christ words about the Good Samaritan, we should also remember Paul's writing, " If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." (2 Thess 3:10)

We spend far too much on what I call "covert" missions when our resources would be better spent on "overt" missions. If we spent more money in the preaching of the gospel or giving away bibles, and less money in free turkeys, perhaps Christianity would be better off. We are poor stewarts of God's money.

4 posted on 12/13/2012 5:41:01 PM PST by HarleyD
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To: Cronos; raptor22; victim soul; Isabel2010; Smokin' Joe; Michigander222; PJBankard; scottjewell; ...

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

5 posted on 12/13/2012 5:42:35 PM PST by narses
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To: HarleyD

“I know this is going to come off sounding completely wrong and heartless but here goes...”

Yep. Also not at all in the spirit of what I have been taught is true Charity.

In each of us there is the image of God, we are all brothers. To feed the hungry is a basic Christian duty, as is visiting those in prison. (By the way, a more humbling task is hard to imagine.) Often Brother Harley, the struggle that I find the most difficult is with myself and my flawed nature. The humility I learn, when I learn through these corporal works of Charity are part of how I fight that fight and I believe part of how I am commanded by God to do so.

May your preparations for the coming of Our Lord during this very Holy Advent bear magnificent fruits and may you and yours enjoy a truly Blessed Christmas.

6 posted on 12/13/2012 5:49:23 PM PST by narses
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To: mylife

I worked for a food bank for many years. Had a pretty good salary.
I was involved in all aspects of running that place.

I will make this long story short.
The director made an obscene amount of money. In fact most of the employees were overpaid.

A lot of the food donations from businesses and individuals that weren’t canned were thrown away at the dump.

The turkeys that were donated by good people during the holidays were sold to other non-profits, not given to families. We used large government grant money to BUY small turkeys and other food for the holiday food boxes.
(I was told we did this because we needed to use up all of the grant money or we would lose it)

Look, I’m not saying I know what small food banks run by good people do. I’m sure they are doing good work. I just know what many non-profits do with money and other donations.

Knowing what I know, I never donate to non-profits. If you want to really help someone, give to that person or family directly. Believe me, it would do more good.

7 posted on 12/13/2012 6:11:53 PM PST by Aurorales (I will not be ridiculed into silence!)
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To: Aurorales

Maybe from now on I will get them smoked and bring them to work, where I know it will be enjoyed.

8 posted on 12/13/2012 6:29:00 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: narses

Everything you’ve stated is absolutely correct. We have to trust God that our bread cast upon the waters will bear fruit regardless of the circumstance. Still, whether we would bear more fruit by giving to charity A rather than charity B is the question I ponder. What exactly is being a wise stewart? Perhaps I overthink this. :O)

9 posted on 12/14/2012 7:47:20 AM PST by HarleyD
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