The Four Pillars of Stewardship: Service
A parish opens its hearts, wallets to serve others
(PHOTOS) On a cool September morning, members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Spearville were busy lifting dozens of heavy boxes filled with food items.
A few cars zoomed by along First Street in Dodge City as the volunteers loaded the boxes from trucks onto dollies. They then rolled the stacks of boxes up a long sidewalk, and carried them one by one down a set of cement stairs into a basement storage room.
They were bringing the donated food into Manna House, a facility in Dodge City that not only serves food to anyone in need, but also provides shelter for the night, and even clothes.
Laura Koehn, who has been the director at the home for several years, said that while other people and organizations give to the home, St. John the Baptist Parish is the only parish that holds the annual collection.
Following Mass a few weeks earlier at St. John the Baptist, volunteers distributed grocery sacks on which were listed suggested food items. For two weeks, parishioners brought in hundreds of cans of food and sacks of dried food, such as rice and pasta, for Manna House. Approximately 20 youth then packed the nearly 5,000 pounds of collected food into 55 large boxes.
Delivering the boxes were Deacon Dwaine Lampe, Elmer Schuette, Erv Burkhart, and Steve Knoeber.
Koehn stressed that other churches and organizations have been generous in offering donations, including Sacred Heart School, and area public schools. But despite how much food comes in, the speed at which it goes out always leaves volunteers at Manna House wondering if at some point the quickly emptying shelves are going to lead to someone having to go hungry.
Deacon Lampe noted that because so many donations come in around Christmas time, the Spearville parish decided to host a collection earlier in the year.
The food pantry is open Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Clients receive whatever is available at the time (canned goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, etc.). Manna House is limiting its clothes distribution, but is always in need of food or monetary contributions.
For more information contact Manna House at 1012 1st Avenue, Dodge City or by calling at (620) 227-6707.