Saturday, July 2, 2016

Blessing Bags for homeless, families (day 2)

A stunned Sr. Connie
Hundreds of homeless and struggling families in St. Louis are getting a special “blessing”, thanks to the 19th Quinquennial Congress’ Blessing Bag Project. Franciscan Sister Connie Probst, St. Anthony Food Pantry director, was shocked at the size of the donation.

Q Co-Chair Kate Kleinart put it this way:

“We’re leaving St. Louis a little better than we found it.”

Attendees prepared bags of goodies and personal care items to give to the homeless and struggling families. The products were donated by Secular Franciscans across the country as well as by a few companies.

In fact, Friday afternoon saw an endless line of Franciscans stuffing “Blessing Bags” with various snacks, other goodies, socks and personal hygiene products. They filled 61 boxes with the bags, and then another 40 boxes with larger goodies, bars of soap and large containers of shampoo. The 101 boxes were to be handed over to St. Anthony Food Pantry, which serves over 800 families, including the homeless, in St. Louis.

Sr. Connie
Sr. Connie with her van.
A stunned food pantry director, Franciscan Sister Connie Probst, asked to address the congress later in the day. She related how she was delighted to hear that Secular Franciscans were donating goodie bags, and showed up with her car. It wasn’t big enough. She had to return with the food pantry’s large van.

“We see the face of the incarnate Christ everyday” in the people they serve, she said, adding: “We see Christ here in all of you.”

While watching the last of the boxes literally being squeezed into the van, Sister Connie estimated that she and food pantry volunteer Janie Barton were hauling away about 4,000 pounds in donated goods – and well over 1,000 Blessing Bags.

Kleinart noted that the bags included holy cards bearing the message, “Filling this Blessing Bag for you has been a blessing for me! I will keep you in my prayers and ask St. Francis to keep you in his care.”