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It takes a village, a caring village, to put an end to hunger

Writer and management consultant Margaret Wheatley says, “There is no power equal to a community discovering what it cares about.”

This line came into my mind as I was scurrying around the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods campus last Saturday taking pictures of a community caring about the fact that people in their neighborhood are hungry. Officially called the Hunger Bust Fun Run/Walk, the event was sponsored by St. Mary’s Village Parish with all proceeds going to support Providence Food Pantry, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Providence.

In advance of the walk, the organizers found more than 20 businesses and organizations to care enough to sponsor the walk. They put their names on the back of the walk t-shirt. So, it was a sea of aqua as all manner of folks (and pets and babies in strollers) warmed up in the shadow of the fountain at the end of the Avenue that distinguishes the SMWC campus.

Hunger Bust walkers and runner hit the road at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Hunger Bust walkers and runner hit the road at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Among those leading the calisthenics was Jamie Richey. Was I surprised that she was one of the organizers of the walk? Jamie and her husband Keith own Accurate Insulation on National Avenue in West Terre Haute. This spring when the pantry needed a new location, the Richeys invited Providence Pantry to move into half of their building. Rent? The pantry is paying the Richeys $1 per year.

Was I surprised to find representatives from the 10 area churches who regularly support the pantry among the crowd? Representatives from each of these churches now form a board of advisors to help advance the mission of the pantry. Not only was Board President Marilu Thralls walking, so were her children and her children’s children!
And I certainly wasn’t surprised when Sister Joseph Fillenwarth, the pantry’s director, arrived with a fistful of money she had collected from the Sisters of Providence who live in health care. They couldn’t walk, but they wanted to show they care.

Sister Joan Slobig, Parish Life Coordinator for St. Mary’s Village, reported that about $3,000 was raised as a result of the walk. (Incidentally, Sister Joan brought her passion for the pantry from her time as coordinator at the former St. Leonard’s Parish where those good people provided the pantry a home, also rent free.) Thanks to the Catholic Charities Food Bank, which charges agencies like Providence Pantry only 19 cents per pound for food, the $3,000 raised will enable 15,789 pounds of food to be purchased for the hungry in our midst

Thanks St. Mary’s Village Parish and all who joined the St. Mary’s Village community last Saturday because you care. There IS no power equal to a community discovering what it cares about.

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Sister Dawn Tomaszewski

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski was elected General Superior of the Sisters of Providence in 2016. She has been a Sister of Providence since 1975. Previously she ministered as a teacher, as communication and development director for the sisters and their ministries and as a member of elected leadership on the general council of the Sisters of Providence.

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