Written on: August 2, 2013
From: GREY NUN NEWSNOTES July 31, 2013
Marguerite on the Streets of New York
Each year as we complete applications requesting grant support for Marguerite’s Pantry, we are asked to report how we have helped serve the local community. As I recalled some of our accomplishments over the past year it became clear to me that Marguerite D’Youville continues to work through her followers on the streets of New York. And so I share some remembrances with you to help each of us continue to acknowledge God’s work for the poor through the hands, hearts and heads of the volunteers and benefactors at Marguerite’s Pantry. In October we prayed together as we began our 17th year of service at the Pantry at Our Lady of Fatima, especially remembering all those who have helped us over the years and are no longer able. We recalled in November how the American Brotherhood (motorcycle friends) once again raised money to purchase turkeys for the 200 families and then stood in the cold with us to distribute them. We remembered our pizza treat the week before Christmas where Joann (OLF graduate) and her elves sorted through hundreds of toys to distribute to all the Pantry kids—over three hundred this year. In January we celebrated Martin Luther King Day by following the recommendation of President Obama for a national day of service and declared our Pantry a place of service to welcome volunteers. After just two days of on line applicants, we had 20 new volunteers and had to close the sign up process. Our prayer that day was from the prayers of Dr. King: “Eternal God, out of whose mind this great cosmic universe was created, we bless you. Help us to seek that which is high, noble and good. Help us in the moment of difficult decision. Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brother/sisterhood that transcends race or color.”
In September and May, we marveled at the arrangements made by Jennifer, (one of our Board members) who with the local supermarket workers came to bag fresh produce and then wait and serve from the truck for the three hours the pantry was open. This had been a long time dream which finally became a reality once creative minds came together.
One of the highlights of our service this past year was helping a refugee family from Ouagadougou (where Sr. Marie Christine had worked with the Peace Corps) move out of the local shelter. With some creativity, GNSH support, and hard work from the couple, we connected them with a Long Island family to get all the furniture needed to move into the four story walk up in the Bronx. Again Marguerite came through (and probably Marie Christine!) as we reached out to family and friends to get a bed and bedding for baby Ashley. Later, referral letters were written by our volunteers to assist the Mom get started on her job search. As in all the previous years, the faithful parishioners of St. Joan of Arc and Our Lady of Fatima as well as several other individuals, continued to donate so we could purchase hams at Christmas and Easter as well as provide variety foods not given from the food bank.
Before the start of each Pantry all the volunteers join hands in prayer and recall that, as part of the global community we are grateful for the time together and for those who have gone before us and those who continue to support our work. We sometimes have a theme—this past pantry was May 4th so we celebrated Cinco de Mayo by praying for an end to the violence, drug trafficking and abuse amongst our neighbors in Mexico. As always, we end with the Our Father in Spanish and English this time especially aware of Pedro and our other Mexican friends who stood with us. As we get ready to break for summer, we thank God for the opportunity to serve our poor and pray that God, through the intercession of St. Marguerite will continue to bless this work with support, and volunteers with compassionate hearts, creative minds, and working hands.
Sr. Anne Marie Beirne, gnsh