I wanted to provide a recap of our first lunch detail at The Thomas Merton Center. Butchers Best did most of the prep after we finalized a menu of roasted 1/4 chickens, green beans, macaroni and cheese and bread pudding. Knowing that this lunch is probably the final meal of the day for most of these folks, we wanted to make it substantial. We met at Butchers at 8:00 to help with the final prep and packing the van. We arrived at The Merton Center at 9:00 and started cooking and prepping the line. Lunch started at 11:30 and we were ready to go. I want to thank the other 4 knights, and soon to be a knight, Cosmo Civale for the help with our initial meal. Including to-go we provided 155 meals. We are next up on January 4th, and we are scheduled the first Friday of the month moving forward. Same process. If you would like to join, let me know. BTW, we had a great time. Some key learnings from our initial visit:
There has been some discussion about the need for the van since it costs the knights about $ 1,000 annually in maintenance. I believe the van is critical for us to maintain this ministry and others. We delivered the 500 coats using the van, we delivered and transported the food we collected at the Run4Hunger using the van. We used and will use in the future the van to transport food and utensils for our monthly meal at The Merton Center. Not only will we keep it, but I've begun the discussion about replacing it with a newer one since it's 15 years old. We are working together with Butchers Best to develop a reasonable budget for this meal while providing a substantial meal. My thought is we dedicate the gains from our upcoming Super Bowl raffle, to this ministry. I will address the masses the first weekend in January, thank them for their support in the past and give them an overview of our upcoming events. I'll make them aware of this ministry and tell them we will be selling raffle tickets after mass the next 2 weekends with the proceeds earmarked to providing this meal. I believe they'll respond. We'll need someone to lead this effort and coordinate volunteers at each mass.
We have a long weekend upcoming and I wanted to share the details so you can plan your volunteer hours accordingly.
Saturday we will begin with the set-up of the creche' in the church after 8:00 Mass. This normally takes about 1 1/2 hours as we retrieve the figures and the manger from the rectory basement and set it up. We'll follow that with the setup of the Gathering Hall for Breakfast with Santa about 10:00. We'll set tables, decorations to include Christmas trees, and tables, sleigh, and Santa's chair. When the Gathering Hall is completed, we'll move to the Knights Hall and set up for the toy drive. It will be a long day, but the more folks that help, the shorter the day becomes so plan on it.
Sunday we will begin with Breakfast with Santa. Need to arrive by 7:30 AM to help with the food, and the final set-up. The first patrons usually arrive by 8:30 and the final folks leave by 12:30 or 1:00. We will need to put the Gathering Hall back in order prior to leaving. Sunday night is the Toy Give-out in the Knights Hall. We are going to pass out numbered tickets to avoid any conflicts in line this year, so we will need some folks to be at the Hall by 3:30 to pass out tickets. No one gets entry into the hall without a ticket, and we will let in no more than 10 families at a time. The inside crew should plan on arriving by 5:00.
Have the best of this Christmas Season. Celebrate the birth of Our Lord, and recommit yourself to following in his steps.
I wanted to let you know that all the coats we collected have now been delivered with the exception of those for local students which are being laundered and will be passed out next week. I want to thank all of you that were involved in the program in collecting, sorting and passing out. Great job.
We were also fortunate enough due to the generosity of the community to be able to support not 2 Seminarians, but 4. At the breakfast a few Sundays back we handed out 4 checks for $ 500 each to Seminarians in need. We also had a surplus that was used to offset the cost of the Appreciation Dinner which was enjoyed by all.
This time of year it's so important for us to take stock in how fortunate we are to be who we are, live where we live, and have all that we've been given. Really hit home for me over the past few days delivering coats to the shelters, and passing out pies to Newtown residents that need assistance at the Food Pantry. Quite a humbling experience. It's critical, especially being Knights that we work hard to make lives better for those less fortunate because that's what Jesus taught us and Father McGivney guides us to do. To give a man your coat. I hope and pray that as each of us sit down with family and enjoy the bounty we are about to enjoy for Thanksgiving, that we never forget those that don't share our fortune and recommit ourselves to their care.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Be safe.