A Tribute to Imogen
While so very grateful for the time we had with her, it is with much sadness that we say goodbye to our youngest and spunkiest food pantry volunteer. After a lifelong struggle with heart trouble, five year old Imogen Kramer passed away on October 19, 2018. Imogen, her brothers, her mom Mary Frances, and sometimes her dad Zach had a running date at the food pantry on the first Monday of each month. They were responsible for shelving all the donations that had come in at that weekend's masses. (For more on their family, see our Volunteer Spotlight from June 2017.) Because their work was behind the scenes, only a handful of us had the pleasure of working with this incredible family, yet Imogen's sunny disposition had an impact on everyone she met. This was evidenced by the beautiful turnout of family, friends, pre-school teachers, hospital nurses, and neighbors who gathered for her funeral and a celebration of her life. Among the ways we are encouraged to
remember Imogen: wear your favorite color from head to toe;
swing as high as you can; do something brave, just because you have to; choose the red marker; pile hot blankets up to your ears-
or take off your clothes and dance in your undies!
The world is a better place, because Imogen was in it. May we all
carry a little bit of Imogen in our hearts for years to come.
Winter Edition - December 2018
Thank you to our friends at St Elizabeth in Rockville for their continued support of the pantry. On the first Monday of each month, Brian Crowe, Maureen Feroli and others deliver literal car loads of food collected for our food pantry. As of December 3rd, their year-to-date total was 1,771 bags of food!
A big thanks to all our wonderful volunteers.
The weekend before Thanksgiving, the tremendous teamwork was evident as 379 families were served between our two pantry locations!
Special thanks to the school children at
St John the Baptist for choosing to support the families of our food pantry once again with the food drive that caps off their annual Service Liturgy. A nod of appreciation goes to our wonderful Registration Dept volunteer Eileen Flynn, who helps coordinate this collection and delivery each year. Thank you!
A warm thank you to Molly Parrish and all our friends at Adelphi Friends Meeting for the constant support of our pantry. Not only are they a large part of our volunteer force, but Molly also applies for a grant on behalf of the pantry each year as well, and the grant is typically a very generous one. Thanks so much!
Special thanks to Meg McKenna and our friends at Holy Redeemer in Kensington for the special food donation they brought in early November.
We extend a big thank you to Holy Redeemer Kensington school principal Colleen Ryan and her students for their generous Thanksgiving collection of food AND 45 turkeys.
A special thank you, as well, to Holy Redeemer Kensington's David Bonfiglio and the team of men that arranged for the pick up and delivery of the school's food collection, their turkeys, and 155 more turkeys from an anonymous donor. The food was distributed to pantry clients at both pantry locations on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Thank you for your generosity and kindness!
Thank you to Boy Scout troop 499 from
St John the Baptist for the donation of food they delivered to the pantry AND put on our shelves.
With the incredible support of our many partnering churches and schools (so many we fail to recognize them all here), the pantries are able to continue serving the many families who come to us for help. THANK YOU!
We Are Thankful for
As a small token of thanks for coming out in the cold,
trudging through snow, sitting in traffic, hauling cases of food
down the basement stairs, shelving bag after bag of donations,
and working tirelessly and cheerfully to serve our clients, the
pantry is presenting volunteers with official team gear!
Registration volunteers will receive a T-shirt, and the rest
of the volunteers will receive an apron. If you haven't gotten
yours already, check in with Bernie, Joyce or Joan at your next shift.
Continuing to Serve
Sister Anne Curtis
Sr Anne joined the food pantry family in 2013, working on Friday afternoons in our Registration Dept. In September she moved out of the area to start a new ministry, so her work with the pantry came to an end. She said, "I’m really sorry to be leaving St. Camillus, it has been a wonderful community to be part of. I don’t think I’ll find another quite like it."
Thank you, Sr Anne, for these past FIVE years, serving the families of our community! Good luck in your future endeavors!
Malú and Antonio
Malú Gomes volunteered with us for longer than most of us can remember. She started helping at our Langley Park location with Maureen and the team from St Elizabeth. Then she moved to the St Camillus pantry and, like Sr Anne, she worked Friday afternoons in the Registration Dept. After several years, she brought her husband Antonio aboard, and he worked in the Bagging and Distribution area.
They were a wonderful part of our family of friends, so it was with sadness that they announced this past summer they would be retiring from food pantry duty to find volunteer work closer to their home.
How You Can Help
The pantry is always looking for more volunteers.
If you have family or friends eager to join our ministry, we are currently looking for:
-Volunteers to help unload and shelve food deliveries on Thursday afternoons
-Bilingual (Spanish/English) volunteers who are comfortable using a computer
to help register families to receive food during our operating hours on
Friday afternoons and/or Saturday mornings
-A volunteer to maintain our website and create our seasonal online newsletters
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping!
Sandy Bock - Summer Support
Longtime volunteer Sandy Bock is a breath of fresh air every summer when she comes to help fill in the gaps when other volunteers are going on vacation or taking kids to college. Sandy is a school teacher, teaching Latin and Spanish at St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel. This year marks her 54th year of teaching - wow! Before teaching at Pallotti, she taught at the long-closed Regina High School for girls in Adelphi, a neat connection she shares with a few of our other pantry volunteers.
With us since at least 2010, Sandy responded to an announcement in the bulletin asking for volunteers. She began in the bagging area on Friday afternoons, but it became apparent that her Spanish speaking skills would be put to much better use in the registration room, and she's been there ever since!
When asked why she volunteers, Sandy says, "I enjoy volunteering at the pantry because it's fun interacting with the families who come needing food, especially when they have their children with them." Like many other volunteers, she also enjoys the wonderful fellowship that comes from working with such a great group of volunteers.
During her time off from teaching, the food pantry isnt the only thing that keeps her busy. "Every summer I usually do some kind of service trip, too, if I can. I just returned from St. Francis Builds in Puerto Rico." She's also been to Cuba, Costa Rica, the Crow and the Blackfoot reservations in Montana, and twice to Appalachia. Thank you, Sandy, for all the many ways you serve!
Mary and Catherine Hunt - Behind the Scenes
Many hands work together to make our amazing food pantry operation work as smoothly as it does. Quite a few of those hands work behind the scenes. Mary Hunt and her daughter Catherine are two of those behind-the-scenes volunteers. They are assigned to one Monday per month on a rotation with 4 other teams who come to the pantry to shelve all the food that was donated at weekend masses, so that the pantry is tidy, and the work table is open when Thursday food delivery comes in. They found out about the food pantry from local friends and "wanted to volunteer in our community because we believe it is important to share." That was back when Catherine was in the 5th grade; they are now starting their seventh year of service at the pantry!
When asked why they enjoy volunteering, Mary says, "We like to do projects together. The pantry is a way we can help people, be part of a larger team. We think it is important to share so that all can have what we need. The work is easy, and the tasks are clear. We do it after school and work so it is a change of pace for us."
Not the type to limit her volunteer efforts, Catherine is an Ambassador at the Academy of the Holy Cross, where she is a junior this year, AND did her Girl Scout Gold Award project at the pantry. With the help of Cheryl Nichols, a fellow pantry volunteer and family friend, she collected 800 children’s books and gave them to kids whose parents come to get food.
Mary is a Catholic theologian, co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, which is celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary this year. She, like Catherine, is involved in her community in a variety of professional organizations and projects. A big thanks to both for their continued work in the food pantry!
Longtime volunteer Valerie Veise is a wonderful example of partnership in action. She comes to us from St Elizabeth Parish in Rockville. Valerie tells us that fellow pantry supporter, Brian Crowe, who manages the monthly food collection for us at St Elizabeth, "spoke to our Sodality group at one of our meetings about the outreach opportunities, and he had me hooked!"
Valerie Veise - A Servant's Heart
Valerie has been a member of the food pantry family working in bagging and distribution since at least 2012 and says, "When I retired I knew I wanted to spend time in more social service activity, and I see that same desire and amazing dedication in the volunteers at St. Camillus." This is why she enjoys volunteering at the pantry and adds, "The gratitude of the many recipients of the food pantry is a heartwarming gift."
The giving of one's time in the service of someone else seems to be a way of life for Valerie and is something she learned from her mother. "Since retiring I have enjoyed the freedom to volunteer in programs close to my heart. Growing up, I witnessed my mother’s many years of service to the homebound and area nursing home residents. From time to time she would let me and my siblings tag along, and it had an impact! I have been on the St. Elizabeth Senior Ministry team since 1998. The friendships and the wisdom we gain from our elderly friends is a great gift! Through our Sodality at St. Elizabeth I am fortunate to participate in a number of our outreach projects that include Rockville Pregnancy Center/Women’s Clinic, St. Joseph’s House, St. Martin’s Pantry, and Rainbow Place Shelter. As they say, 'many hands make light work!' And sharing these duties makes for wonderful friendships." Thank you, Valerie. We couldn't have said it better ourselves!