Summer edition - June 2018
THANK YOU TO THE WONDERFUL CHURCHES WHO SUPPORT OUR MISSION TO FEED THE HUNGRY. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO BE ABLE TO PARTNER WITH YOU!!
THANK YOU to the parishioners of St John the Baptist Church for the HUGE food collection they sent our way for the Annual Catholic Charities/Archdiocese of Washington Lenten food drive. They sent several car loads of food and several people to help unload it and carry it down to the pantry. Thank you for helping us help others!
Another hearty Thank You goes out to the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac for their generous support of our pantry. They collected approx 100 bags of food for the needy families in our community. And THANK YOU to the enthusiastic (and strong!) 8th graders who loaded up our vehicles when we went to pick the food up.
Thank you to the many folks at St Elizabeth who collect and deliver food to our pantry EVERY month AND help unload and bring it down into the pantry. Thank you, too, for the extra donation in March! We are so grateful for your support, which has brought us 1,035 bags of food so far this year.
A big Thank You to the students of Friends Community School for collecting canisters of oatmeal for the food pantry! Oatmeal is a favorite among the families who come to the pantry for help, so this donation will be sure to bring a lot of appreciative smiles. Thank You!!
Last, but not least, THANK YOU to all the volunteers who helped receive all these generous donations! Thank you for all the trips up the basement stairs unloading vehicles, hauling food down the stairs, and unpacking and shelving ALL THAT FOOD. It was a BIG job! We couldn't have done it without you!!!
We pay tribute to one of our very first food distribution volunteers, Norma Morris, who recently went home to be with Jesus. Norma would accompany her son, longtime and much-loved volunteer Warren, when we first expanded our operation to distribute on certain days and times of each week. This was back when volunteers brought a book to read during those long lulls "between customers."
Norma, born and raised in Washington DC and a kindergarten teacher for 30 years, always had a ready smile and kind words. She lived a long and fruitful life, serving God, serving others, and warming hearts all along the way. We'll miss you, Norma!
Volunteer Spotlight - Marianne Comfort
When Marianne moved to Takoma Park in 2010, she was looking for a vibrant parish. She quickly learned about St. Camillus and wanted to get involved in some of the community activities. It wasn't long before she heard that the pantry was looking for volunteers, and the rest is history! She has been volunteering in the bagging and distribution area of the pantry on Saturday mornings ever since. In addition, Marianne has helped out here and there in the registration room with her "baby Spanish." She says, "Others marveled that I moved through registration quickly, but that was because I couldn't engage in extraneous conversations, only sticking to the script." For over 5 years she was also in charge of keeping up with the individual donor database and writing thank you notes to our many generous donors - a big task!
During the week, Marianne works for the Sisters of Mercy, on their justice staff. "We educate the Sisters and others connected with the Sisters about current issues around their concerns for the environment, immigration, nonviolence, anti-racism and women."
When asked why she enjoys volunteering, she says, "My day job is educating and advocating around justice and environmental issues, which can be quite theoretical and abstract. It's important to be connected to real-life people needing assistance with basics like food. Even being in the back room bagging groceries I get a glimpse of the families coming in for help and it's a reminder of who I'm advocating for."
Thank you, Marianne, for all the many ways you serve.
Volunteer Spotlight - Mike and Carolina Palacios
Husband and wife team, Mike and Carolina, first learned about the St Camillus Food Pantry back in 2009 through a friend at Catholic Charities who knew Joan Conway, one of the pantry's early coordinators. Since they are both bilingual, their talents were quickly put to use in our Registration Department, and they've been steady, loyal, and dedicated volunteers ever since. Their situation is interesting, however, because Mike and Carolina work full time during the week AND have three young children at home. So they have made theirs a tag team effort. When their assigned Saturday morning rolls around, one of them will cover the Food Pantry shift, while the other takes kid duty, shuttling the children to their various weekend activities.
Mike and Carolina have also volunteered with Food Share Network and Senior Connections, but the Food Pantry is their primary volunteer spot. When asked why they enjoy volunteering, Mike says, "It always feels good after working a shift. Maybe because we get to firsthand see and talk to the people who are being helped, and..." the answer that is so familiar among our volunteers, "Fellowship-enjoy the teamwork and sharing a common cause with our fellow volunteers." Thank you both for your continued involvement as we help families in need!
Volunteer Spotlight - Mike Cook
Dependable and loyal volunteer Mike Cook has been volunteering in the food pantry since 2013. A friend of Mike's, who attended St Elizabeth's in Rockville (one of our partner churches in the food pantry ministry) and had volunteered in the pantry himself, connected Mike to us, and we're so glad he did! Mike works in the bin-filling area of the pantry and "does what Joyce and Bernie tell me to do!" A sort of "baptism by fire," Mike still remembers his first pantry shift, "We had 110 families come that day. That was when we had just the little room. Those were the days!" Fortunately for us, that likely, record-breaking first day didn't scare him off, as Mike is flexible and generous with his time and always happy to switch shifts or fill in for another volunteer if it's needed and he is able.
After spending 30 years working for IBM, Mike is now working for a small IT firm in Montgomery County designing technical solutions for their customers. When asked why he enjoys volunteering, Mike says, "I'm fortunate to have the time to do it, and it's a way to give back to the community. There are many ways to do that, but the opportunity to see first-hand the results of the pantry's efforts is most gratifying." Thank you, Mike, for the countless Saturdays you've spent helping get food into the hands of the people who need it.
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!
Thank you to the students of SFIS
A special THANK YOU to the graduating 8th grade class from St Francis International School. Throughout the school year the students gave up part of their lunch break one Thursday a month when the pantry received very large deliveries from the Capital Area Food Bank - 6 pallets loaded with canned goods, masa, beans and rice. The kids formed human chains and passed the food along the sidewalk, down the stairs, into the pantry and shelved it. The adult volunteers supervised the shelving. It didn't take long before the students just showed up and knew exactly what to do. They were a tremendous help, and the volunteers all enjoyed interacting with them. We were really grateful and hope we can continue this relationship with St. Francis International School.
Did you know?
12.7% of Americans suffer from hunger. Thank you for helping us do our part to lower this percentage and help bring food to the tables of families in our neighborhood! (Source: FeedingAmerica.org)
Continuing to Serve
This graph shows the number of families we have served from January through May, both this year and last year. We look forward to serving even more people as the months progress!
note: May 2017 is when the Langley Park pantry closed, which is why our numbers of families served dropped.