Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Laughter Filled the Air

St. Mary's School in Clinton arranged for bus transportation, then 6th graders sponsored a "dress down" day last Friday, where students donating canned goods to the soup kitchen could dress down, and on Monday eleven 6th graders showed up at Mother Marianne's West Side Kitchen with the cans of food, a teacher and two parents.

"They were wonderful and so happy to be there," reports volunteer daytime supervisor Joanne Lockwood. "Our regular Monday volunteers couldn't believe their eyes when they came in to see the kitchen overflowing with children."

By the time guests arrived, "the regulars and newcomers had teamed up...and their laughter filled the air. The guests joined in and everyone was enjoying being together."

The 6th graders, who arrived at 10 a.m. and left about 1 p.m. when clean-up was done, are already planning a bottle drive to help pay for bus transportation so they can come again next month, Joanne notes.

While the school children were filling the building with their joy and enthusiasm, soup kitchen director Deacon Gil Nadeau was compiling end-of-month statistics for October -- which showed that 2,358 meals were served (151 children, 107 elderly, and 2,100 other adults), bringing the grand total, since opening March 10, to 12,639 meals.

"There was almost a 30 percent increase from the previous month and a 60 percent increase from an average month to date," Deacon Gil notes. "These numbers are starting to reflect the need that is skyrocketing in our area."

He adds: "Thank you to all who volunteer their time and treasure. We could not do this without you."