“We have such a dynamic parish of volunteers,” says Joan Gonzalez, a member of St. Anthony of Padua, Easton. “Our volunteers are true heroes.”
Gonzalez is the unofficial organizer of several different community service projects at the parish, where people work to give sneakers to underprivileged kids to go back to school, or to put warm socks on cold feet, or to stock the food pantry.
For the past six years, a group of parishioners has been getting together regularly to feed the homeless at Safe Harbor, an Easton homeless shelter.
Normally, the volunteers would cook various dishes and then take them to the shelter. “We serve the meal to feed their bodies,” she says, “and we spend time getting to know them, to feed their spirits.”
Lately, however, Coronavirus restrictions have meant that they can only cook up a meal and deliver the food to the shelter’s staff.
But that hasn’t stifled their creativity: This month, the team is putting together the fixings for a fajita bar.
The work of Gonzalez and the group of parish volunteers is an example of the kind of thing anyone can do, at any parish, to fill a community need. It’s also a good way to help fulfill the Diocese’s mission of bringing the Light of Christ to each other and to our community.
Such volunteer work can be very satisfying, Gonzalez says, but it does require some determination and flexibility to overcome the inevitable challenges.
“God is always at work,” she says. “I don’t sweat it. It always has a way of working out.”