The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Wildwood Soup Kitchen

As a deacon, one of the ministries in which I'm actively involved is the Wildwood Soup Kitchen, located, appropriately enough, in Wildwood, Florida. An ecumenical ministry operated exclusively by volunteers (almost 150 volunteers from 30+ local churches), the soup kitchen will serve approximately 60,000 meals this year.

I'm the current president of the board of directors, but my most fulfilling job is working as a kitchen flunky every Thursday under the firm and knowledgeable supervision of my wife, Diane, who happens to be the Thursday cook. All of our cooks are wonderful, but Diane, a native Floridian, knows how to satisfy those Southern appetites with good home cookin'. Today's main course, Brunswick Stew, received rave reviews.

I'm especially proud of the fact that the soup kitchen accepts no government funds or materials and is completely dependent on donations of money, food, equipment, and services from individuals, businesses, churches and local civic and neighborhood associations. What a blessing that so many are willing to help the hungry, the poor and the lonely. As you might imagine, fundraising has turned into my most time-consuming task.

Today was a record day for us. We served 134 meals to walk-ins and delivered 125 meals to those unable to get to the kitchen for a variety of reasons. It's one of those records that I hope will remain unbroken. Unfortunately, given the uneven state of the economy these days I suspect we will continue to serve large numbers of people daily.

This is a wonderful ministry, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to take a more active role in doing God's work by fulfilling the Gospel mandate to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and welcome the stranger. [See Matthew 24:35.] We feed anyone who walks in the door looking for a meal. No one asks to see a 1040 or W-2. We just feed the hungry.

If you'd like to view my latest PowerPoint presentation on the soup kitchen, click here. We also have a website: http://www.wildwoodsoupkitchen.com/

I'll take some time every so often to fill you in on some of the ministries I'm involved in with the hope that someone reading this might listen more attentively to God's call to love Him and their neighbor.

Blessings and God's Peace...

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