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‘But I won’t get any supper …’

Providence Food Pantry serves approximately 320-plus West Terre Haute Families each month. However, Sister Joseph Fillenwarth urges all who support the pantry to also support Bread for the World 2015.

Providence Food Pantry serves approximately 320-plus West Terre Haute Families each month. However, Sister Joseph Fillenwarth urges all who support the pantry to also support Bread for the World 2015.

A few years ago, a Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) volunteer at Ryves Youth Center shared a story with me.

Ryves Youth Center in Terre Haute serves an after-school meal Monday through Friday and provides a food backpack for the weekend.

On this particular day, a second-grader arrived late and told the student volunteer that she needed supper.

“Oh honey, you are too late for the meal,” the volunteer replied.

The child crawled up on her lap, crying loudly, “But I won’t get any supper! I won’t get breakfast! I won’t get anything until lunch tomorrow (at school)!”

Nearly 16 million children in the United States – one in five – live in households that struggle to put food on the table.

Providence Food Pantry in West Terre Haute feeds an average of 320-plus families each month, but only one out of every 20 grocery bags that feed people who are hungry come from church food pantries and other private charities. Federal nutrition programs, from school meals to SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) provide the rest.

“I deeply appreciate the tremendous support for Providence Food Pantry, but for the sake of the families we and others serve, please support Bread for the World’s 2015 Offering of Letters also,” said Sister Joseph Fillenwarth, director of the pantry.

Bread for the World is urging Congress to renew our federal government’s major child nutrition programs, including those for school meals, summer feeding and the WIC nutrition program for pregnant and new mothers along with their small children.

Every five years, Congress must re-authorize the law that funds these programs, which have helped millions of children for several decades.

Bread for the World requests you to write letters supporting their resolution. This year, Andrea Beyke, SMWC campus minister, and some SMWC students will carry these letters and personally deliver them to Indiana’s congress persons in March. A number of churches in Terre Haute are supporting the effort.

You, too, are invited to write letters to your congress persons for the students/graduates to deliver.

Here is an example of a letter.

Write your name and address at the end of the letter. In addition, write the name of your congress person and your return address on the envelope. No stamps are necessary.

If you are unaware of who your congress persons are, click here.

If you do not live at or near Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, but are from Indiana and coming here for a meeting, we will be glad to accept your letters.

Boxes for the letters will be placed in the community room in Providence Hall and in the mailroom of Owens Hall.

The due date is on or before Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.

In case you’re still wondering, yes, the student volunteer got some food for the child who was late.

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Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler has been a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for more than 60 years. Sister Donna has served in elementary education, parish ministry, diocesan social justice, as well as the Congregation’s liturgy office, archives department and social justice outreach. She also administered as the director of the Providence Volunteer Ministry. Sister Donna currently volunteers in outreach with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students.

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  1. Carol Nolan on February 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks, Donna, for this heart-rending story! It is so true, all over the country. My nephew in Kewanee, Illinois said that something like 88% of the children in their district qualify for the federal school lunch program. Out in our district it’s 100%. They get breakfast and lunch, and if they are in the after-school programs they get supper too. And of course like everywhere, the worry is for holidays and summers.
    We are so far from even a sustenance wage, much less a living wage.
    Bless Sr. Joseph and everyone who works at the Providence Food Pantry!

  2. theresa tighe on February 12, 2015 at 9:29 am

    If it is possible to know now, when will the bill be considered. Thank you for giving us this heads up. Here in the St. Louis area – Belleville Ill. – people at a junior college are starting a food bank because some students have money for tuition but not for food. Some sleep in their cars.
    Let us pray for the hungry. That they may be fed.

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