For a second year in a row, St Gabriel the Archangel Catholic parish served over 500 meals to Feed the Hungry on Sunday, February 2, 2014. Feed the Hungry is a program sponsored through Catholic Charities that provides a Sunday dinner to the homeless and working poor since 1993 at St. Mary’s Cathedral Hall in downtown Calgary.
Each week, Feed the Hungry serves a 3-course dinner to 500 guests, including salad, soup, bread, a hot entree, dessert and beverages. Hosting this each Sunday requires the help of 100 volunteers and $4,500 provided by a sponsor group.
Annette Desrochers, the parish’s Feed the Hungry coordinator, says her inspiration for supporting the program came from an experience almost a decade ago. She says, “Eight years ago, my husband and I served at Feed the Hungry with another organization. We had taken a youth from the Chestermere community with us as he needed some volunteer hours. He was so moved by the experience that he started to volunteer on a regular basis. Having struggled myself as a young adult and now being a mom of four teens I wanted to share that experience with my community.”
Her desire to help those in need has encouraged her son Justin to do the same. “I enjoy participating in Feed the Hungry because it gives me a sense of wholeness when I help people who are less fortunate than me. We often do not fully acknowledge the homeless as people, but when you see them sit down to enjoy a meal it drastically alters your perspective.”
Rev. John Nemanic, St Gabriel the Archangel Parish’s pastor, was surprised by the his community’s support. “When Annette told me about the financial and volunteer commitment, I was skeptical we could meet it. A young church community like ourselves is barely able to sustain itself. However, when we announced our participation, the parish came forward wholeheartedly. Our involvement in Feed the Hungry has enabled us to encounter Jesus more profoundly, as he says in the Gospel of Mathew 25 that when feed the hungry, we feed him. Our worship extends beyond the walls of our church.”
St Gabriel’s parish can’t wait to do it again next year!