When the safer-at-home orders went into place and school moved online, Mother of Good Counsel Parish and School relied on tried-and-true methods, creativity, and generosity to serve those in its community through its parish and school food ministry. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Coronavirus Emergency Fund provided a $2,000 grant to the Mother of Good Counsel for these efforts.
Fr. Reed Mungovan, SDS, the pastor at Mother of Good Counsel, said that the financial donations are especially important to support the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at this time. Many of their usual sources of food donations are not available to them now. The parish provides food to 15 to 20 families on the third Saturday of the month. He expects the demand to increase.
“Because we know Jesus, we need to help everyone, school families, the poor, our neighbors in need. That’s what Jesus would want us to do,” Fr. Reed explains.
Fr. Reed is grateful for the support of those who donated to the Coronavirus Emergency Fund. “Every bit is helping. The resources we have we will share.”
When they learned in mid-March that the school building had to close, Regina Shaw, the principal, recognized the need to help school families. During pre-Covid times, the school provides students with two meals a day, and with the school closed, she knew families would struggle to put food on the table. She said: “Not all of these families are used to asking for a handout. They were getting by before the pandemic.”
When families visited Mother of Good Counsel during the first week of distance learning to pick up textbooks and schoolwork to use at home, the school staff set up a table with food from the cafeteria, inviting families to take what they need. They soon realized they needed to keep this support going. So every Wednesday, families are welcome to visit the school to receive food, including pantry staples and fresh food such as fruits and vegetables.
In addition to the donation from the Archdiocesan Coronavirus Emergency Fund, the new school pantry has received support from teachers, friends, family members and others.
In talking about the difference these contributions are making, Shaw put it very directly: “Your donation helps ensure that no child has to go hungry. As we break the fast of our nighttime sleep, a mother will have something to feed her child.”
The school administration has kept this going through the summer. In the beginning, the school was serving six to 10 families per week. Now, there are three to five families visiting the school pantry on a weekly basis. For these families, the school pantry is providing more than 50 percent of their food for the week.
Shaw sees the current challenges we are facing as an opportunity for people to grow. “Don’t you just hope and pray that each one of us comes out of this as a changed individual? My prayer intercession for 25 years has been to see the presence of Christ in one another. People are good. Let people help in the way that they can.”
Thanks to generosity of many, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Coronavirus Emergency Fund is providing emergency needs to local families including food, personal care items, rent assistance and job referral services. Since May 23, grants have been distributed to parishes, St. Vincent de Paul chapters and local Catholic programs. Please consider making a donation to help alleviate the growing financial hardship caused by the pandemic in our area at www.archmil.org/Coronavirus-Emergency-Fund.