Diocesans feed the hungry with love and faith


Sisters ‘Share Sandwiches’ in Clinton

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

CLINTON — The Sisters of St. Francis and their friends are working to curb hunger in Clinton, one sandwich at a time.

On July 31, they kicked off a new program called Share Our Sandwiches, which offers sack lunches and other necessary items free of charge to the poor and homeless.

Sister William McCue, OSF, left, and Sister Martinelle Bonnell, OSF pack sandwiches before the Sisters of St. Francis Share our Sandwiches event July 31.

Lori Freudenberg, community outreach director for the Sisters, said people are often surprised to learn of the prevalence of poverty in Clinton. “We have one of the highest rates for free and reduced lunches across the state. We need to make sure people are fed, whatever predicament they are in.”

The project was initiated by Clinton Franciscan Sisters Joan Theiss and Teresa Kunkel. Each Thursday morning Sisters and associates pack sack lunches in assembly-line fashion at the Sisters of St. Francis complex, using donated food items such as cookies, lunch meat, fruit and bottled water. Then, community volunteers and associates distribute the items from noon to 1 p.m. at two locations: Sixth Avenue South behind the historical museum to serve the east end, and on the lawn of the Moose Lodge on the west end of town. Freudenberg said these areas are two of the most heavily affected by poverty in Clinton. “We are trying to make it convenient for them.”

The program has been in place for about a month, and each week between 14 and 32 people come to Share Our Sandwiches. Freudenberg said a flyer campaign helped attract people initially, and she hopes word of mouth will help the program make even more of an impact.

Freudenberg said the Sisters are working with Ashford University in Clinton to give students an opportunity to volunteer with the program. Others in the community who wish to help — with donations or their time — may contact Freuden-berg at (563) 242-7611. “There have been so many wonderful donations from this community, as well as people making lunches and distributing,” she said. “It’s heart-warming.”


Cathedral serves as mobile food pantry stop

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Pouring rain didn’t stop volunteers and people in need of assistance from participating in a mobile food pantry Aug. 23 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Modern Woodmen of America, based in Rock Island, Ill., sponsored the mobile food pantry in conjunction with River Bend Foodbank, which helps supply food pantries and mobile pantries in five counties in Iowa and 17 counties in Illinois.

Anne Marie Amacher
Gale Francione and Jim Collins pass food for a mobile food pantry at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

Deacon Dan Huber, pastoral associate at Sacred Heart Cathedral, said River Bend asked the cathedral to serve as a host site since the cathedral is located between two food pantries.

Sacred Heart Cathedral assists with the food pantry at The Center in Davenport. The other pantry is called City Center, also located in Davenport.

He noted the mobile pantries provide a supplemental service and even travel to rural areas to reach out to the hungry.

Although the mobile pantries are typically held outside, volunteers from the cathedral quickly opened the former school as dark clouds rolled in. Members of the cathedral’s St. Martin de Porres Society helped with hospitality outside and inside. They sat with patrons in various classrooms while volunteers from Modern Woodmen set up and distributed the food.
Diane Erickson of River Bend said the mobile pantry served about 185 families. That means an estimated 675 individuals received help through this mobile pantry alone.

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