Sacred Heart Parish Community Outreach marks 10 years of service as it announces it is in ‘dire need’ of financial support

Sacred Heart Parish Community Outreach marks 10 years of service as it announces it is in ‘dire need’ of financial support


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos



  • Provided photos Our Father’s Kitchen Food Pantry provides a three-to four-day supply of groceries, including meat, eggs, dairy, milk, cereals, grains, fresh vegetables and fruits. The pantry feeds nearly 1,700 people each month.




  • The Mobile Food Pantry was established in May 2018, as the first in the county program that delivers a three-to four-day supply of food to those who are on a limited income, are ill, homebound or shut-in. Currently, 90 people are receiving this free service.




  • The community outreach programs at Sacred Heart Church began in fall 2009 when Monroe’s only soup kitchen, Our Father’s Kitchen, started offering meals on Wednesday evenings.




By Nancy Kriz

— Quietly celebrating their 10 years of service to the community during a holiday party yesterday, Dec. 20, were volunteers of the Sacred Heart Parish Community Outreach Program.

Parish Outreach Director Betsy Johnston said group quietly marked this milestone because “we never toot our own horn and we’re very grateful for the support the community has given us.”

But now, Johnston noted, the group is facing its own financial challenges and she needs the community to know its continued support has never been more critical than it is now. For the first time in 10 years, its funding is at an all time due low due to the increased number of people it is serving.

“We are in need of help to keep going,” she said, “We are in dire need. All from our community and surrounding area who come to our door receive some type of assistance. We can’t continue to give unless we have it to give.”

In addition to helping others, the outreach program has its own challenges, like a new boiler, electric, gas and other bills, similar to what some of its clients face.

Begins with Wednesday dinnersIn fall 2009, under the direction of the Rev. Tom Byrnes, Sacred Heart Church’s pastor, and in keeping with the church’s mission of “Building a Community of Hope,” Johnston and Jonelle Rizzi developed and implemented Monroe’s only soup kitchen, Our Father’s Kitchen.

“Support from the community was overwhelming as we opened our doors to serve those in need of a hot, nutritious meal,” Johnston said. “Every Wednesday evening, a meal is served at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, the epicenter of Sacred Heart Parish Outreach.”

Those Wednesday evening dinners were the start of bigger things, she explained.

“From this little seed, this program has grown exponentially and the lives it’s touched is more than nutritional value of food,” said Johnston. “It’s the friendship, the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of the person. Sacred Heart is the spearhead, but also involved are very other churches and synagogue in this community. There’s nobody left out, I think.”

'Monroe is alive'

Johnston is gratified by the community’s involvement.

“It tells us that Monroe is alive, and we pull together to help each other,” she said. “A teachable moment is that the more you give, the more you get to give, meaning it’s the snowball effect of goodness. You start this little act of kindness and it multiplies when other people get involved and others want to help. It’s beautiful.”

Why does the need continue?

“There’s a whole group of people who fall in-between the cracks of being totally impoverished and candidates for service and those who make above the limit but not enough to pay their rent and other needs and still have food,” Johnston said. “A room in a house now is $650 to $700 (to rent). Look at what minimum wage and multiply that and see how far you get.”

Choices: Rent versus foodShe told the story of a woman who called to say she needed to make a choice between paying rent and putting food on the table. A week ago Wednesday, she was invited to come to Our Father’s Kitchen for a hot meal and was given a box of food items along with grocery gift cards she could use to supplement the donated items to give to her.

“We never turn anyone away,” Johnston stressed. “There’s an unexplainable joy in serving others. We have 100 very committed volunteers and another 150 who volunteer as often as they can.”

Among those involvedGroups who are noted for their involvement include parishioners of Sacred Heart and students of Sacred Heart School; the Monroe-Woodbury School District; Ebner Plumbing; ShopRite and Stop and Shop; Bagel Boys; Bagel World; The Bruderhof; The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley; Monroe Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts; The Ancient Order of Hibernians; Ladies AOH; the Monroe Knights of Columbus, Martial Arts; The Gift Box; Village Auto Works, JAVA Joes; Positanos,; The Louis Allen Family Foundation, the Monroe Temple and many monthly donors who choose to remain anonymous.

“If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t be able to serve,” added Johnston. “Through service, your life has meaning. We hope there are people out there who want to help us help others.”


Our Father’s Kitchen was the impetus for these programs

MONROE — Since its 2009 inception, Our Father’s Kitchen has led to the development of many other programs which have benefitted the greater Monroe community, including:
• Our Mother’s Cupboard, which serves mothers in need with diapers, wipes formula and baby food.
• The SonShine Boutique, which provides those in need with clothing and household items.
• The St. Mother Teresa Furniture Program, which picks up and distributes recycled furniture to those in need on a weekly basis.
Additionally:
• Our Father’s Kitchen Food Pantry provides a three-to four-day supply of groceries, including meat, eggs, dairy, milk, cereals, grains, fresh vegetables and fruits. The pantry feeds nearly 1,700 people per month.
• The Sacred Heart Warming Station opened for weekends in Winter 2015 providing, overnight respite from the cold from mid- November through March 31. In 2017/2018, it was open seven nights a week from Nov. 15 through March 31, providing more than 680 nights of shelter.
• The Mobile Food Pantry was established in May 2018, as the first in the county program that delivers a three to four day supply of food to those who are on a limited income, are ill, homebound or shut-in. Twice a week, the Sacred Heart Parish Outreach bus goes throughout the area delivering fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, milk, soup, meat, dairy, bread and desserts to those in need. Currently, 90 people are receiving this free service.
• The Bereavement Group meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:15 p.m. at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart to provide support to those suffering the loss of a loved one.
• The Back-to-School Supplies Program, which provides all the school supplies needed for hundreds of local children.
• The Christmas Program, which provides gifts of clothing and toys to more than 350 children each year while the Sacred Heart Youth Group hosts a party for all the children
• The Monroe Temple has hosted the annual Christmas Day Dinner for the past 10 years.
• The Meal Train Program supports those who are chronically ill, recovering from hospitalization or for those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one.
• The Bottles and Cans Recycling Program, located near the clothing shed in the Sacred Heart Church parking lot, assists with the purchase of diapers and food for the pantry.
• The Parish Outreach works with the local courts, by providing many opportunities for community service.
• Over the years, the Parish Outreach has assisted countless individuals and families with rent, utility bills, insurance payments and other unforeseen expenses.
DonateTo make a donation to support the Sacred Heart Parish Outreach program, visit: www.sacredheartchurch.org. Click on “Donate” Financial - Special Programs - Parish Outreach.
People can also host a food and/or diaper drive or donate directly the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley to the Outreach Program’s account.
To learn more, email to: parishoutreach@sacredheartchurch.org.
- Nancy Kriz




Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments

Pool Rules



MUST READ NEWS

Museum Village has reschuled its winter exhibit and farmers' market to Jan. 27
MONROE — Due to the approaching inclement weather approaching, Museum Village has rescheduled its winter exhibit and farmers market...
Read more »
Image

Albert Wisner Public Library to host author of 'Beauty in the Broken Place' on Jan. 27
— The Albert Wisner Public Library will present New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 12:30 p.m.,...
Read more »
Image

Woodbury Public Library announces its February adult events
— The following is a list of programs and events for adults at the Woodbury Public Library during...
Read more »
Image

Baby, it’s going to be old outside - with snow, rain and ice
First Due Weather from the Compound tells its followers to “Keep watching,” and so we are.
On the heels of a minor snow event and school delays today, Jan. 17,...

Read more »
Image

VIDEOS



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers



MOST COMMENTED



Weather in Monroe, NY