Wednesday, August 26, 2020

She Thought It Was a Necklace

 West Side Boutique Coordinator Nancy Robert read an article about Emilie Fancett, a 13-year-old girl who collects and gives away rosaries. She reached out to the girl’s mother, Brenda, about making some rosaries available to soup kitchen patrons. 

Brenda and Emilie Fancett
Brenda and Emilie
Emilie and Brenda visited West Side Kitchen Aug. 26 and not only donated over 150 rosaries, but also several boxes of crayons and coloring books, stuffed animals, school supplies, games, prayer cards, prayer booklets, and Bibles.

Nancy was thrilled, but she couldn’t help but wonder: Why the love for the rosary?

It all started with Vacation Bible School at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Chadwicks, where then-8-year-old Emilie received a goodie bag. Inside was a rosary.

It was a curious thing for her, being raised a Presbyterian. “Do I wear it as a necklace?”

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Youth Brings New Life to Boutique

Yijia (Cindy) Xing was finishing a chalk drawing of a long slender tree. It seemed to gracefully bend, following her fingers. Branches with hanging leaves spread in different directions, extending its reach.

“This represents the mother of life,” the 16-year-old artist said. Child-like angels under the tree, she noted, “bring news of new life.”

Drawing of tree with student artist
Yijia (Cindy) Xing (photos by R. Stronach)

Likewise, Yijia has been helping to bring new life to West Side Boutique as it prepared to reopen during the lingering pandemic. The boutique’s blackboard walls also feature characters from the Disney movie, Lion King, and from the Disney cartoon, Lilo and Stitch. Flanking a display of costume jewelry are portraits of two princesses – Cinderella and Snow White.

Soup kitchen guests got to appreciate her artwork when the boutique reopened Aug. 12, and Yijia and three other students (Grace Zhang, Richard Chen and Leon Zong) got to help them (under pandemic guidelines that included temperature checks, face masks, limited visitors at one time).

Yijia (Cindy) Xing
Yijia, who is entering her junior year at Notre Dame High School, learned about West Side Kitchen and Boutique from her “host sister,” Grace Zhang. A long-term international student, Yijia hails from Liaoning Province in northeast China.

“She has been here since she was in 8th grade,” noted Grace, who herself just completed her freshman year at Cornell University. After high school, Yijia hopes to attend college in the States, too. 

Regarding the soup kitchen and boutique, she noted:

“This is a very good place. They’re helping people, which is very valuable in this community. I am very glad I have the chance to be a volunteer here.”