Feeding the Hungry in the Year of Mercy
Today, Sisters feed the hungry in a variety of ways:
Village Mosaic Feeding Body and Soul: At Village Mosaic, a gathering place for seniors in Etobicoke, every event offers visitors coffee, tea, cake, cookies and more. "It's how the Sisters extend hospitality," says Ursula Matthews, a volunteer who loves preparing drinks, laying out dishes and seeing visitors bring treats as well. "Food tells people that they're welcome and that they're each other's dear neighbour." She speaks warmly of the results. "I see so often how friendships form over coffee and sausage rolls."
Starting the Daily Bread Food Bank: During the 1982 recession, Sister Marie Tremblay saw the need to feed the hungry. "People have a right to food," said Sister Marie. She founded the Daily Bread Food Bank in 1983 which was instrumental in convincing food companies to donate unsold goods rather than dispose of them. "If there is such a thing as surplus food that's edible, it should be distributed rather than destroyed." The Daily Bread Food Bank continues today as Toronto's largest network of food relief programs.
The Heart of Mustard Seed: At Mustard Seed, all the community programs offer food. "The kitchen is the heart of Mustard Seed," says Vickie McNally, Development and Communications. From Nifty Knitters to Community Kitchen, each includes a snack and some provide a meal. Vickie highlights the Saturday Drop-In and the many guests that come for community and lunch. "When we offer something to eat, we offer hospitality, welcoming and warmth," says Vickie. "The Sisters know you can't feed souls without feeding stomachs."
Feeding Hungry Children: For 16 years, Sister Margaret Feeley helped to feed the hungry, working at the Children's Breakfast Club and Food Room of St. Paul's Basilica. "The people we served lived under difficult circumstances but made every effort to live life fully," says Sister Margaret, who prepared meals for children and gathered items for people in need.
After Sister Margaret's retirement, Sister Margie McGurk has continued as a volunteer in the same programs. She describes one moment in the Food Room where a lady receiving some items began crying, saying she was ashamed. "I said, 'It's alright, think of this as shopping,'" says Sister Margie. "I told her she didn't need to be ashamed because everybody needs food."