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You Made It Special

 Tis The Season . . .

Sometimes it is difficult to understand our outreach endeavors at the parish when you cannot see where the food is going or who gets the toys you bought or who received that gift certificate. Maybe you ask yourself, “Do they really need all those coats and gloves we donate?”

I have had the great privilege of seeing who gets the food, who receives the toys, who gets the gift cards, and who is the beneficiary of the clothes.

It is so gratifying and humbling to see the homeless man’s eyes light up when he gets his $25 Wawa gift card and he cannot stop thanking you or telling you what he is going to buy at Wawa.

It is a special feeling when someone you just gave a new set of gloves that cost $12 hug you out of pure delight. Those gloves show someone cares and loves him.

It is the best present you can get when you see the mother who had to flee her home and is in a shelter with her 2 kids, crying with utter joy at the delivery of gifts for her 2 children. She will indeed have a great Christmas and then she realizes she is also getting a gift and the tears burst forth.

Then we discover a family that has absolutely nothing in their house but 3 mattresses on the floor. We are able through the generosity of you our parishioners to provide them with furniture, sheets, linens, food, toys and clothes right before Christmas. That mother who had no reason to dream, now dreams of the great Christmas she and her kids will have.

I want you to know that all the generosity you pour into our Outreach is worthwhile when we see:

…the mother from Birthright who is struggling to make ends meet being pregnant and feeding her 2-year-old child, start deeply sobbing, when she receives toys for her toddler and knows she will have great joy on Christmas.

…the grandmother who must take care of her daughter’s 3 kids because her daughter is away, shake with pure exuberance, because she now knows her grandchildren will have enough food to eat on Christmas Day and the grandkids will have toys from Santa under the tree.

…You see the woman at the shelter giggle with happiness when she receives her brand new comforter to keep warm at night.

…the family that doesn’t have enough food to eat each week is told that every Wednesday, we at St. Norbert’s will give them free food. Just come by and pick it up. They just don’t have the words to express their gratitude as the tears flow.

…the husband and wife who adopted 24 disadvantaged children know they will not have to worry about feeding them thanks to the generosity of our parish. What do you say when someone says, because of you and your parish, we can help our children.

…the people from the addictions rehab clinic working to set themselves free from addictions, waiting for you as your drive up on Thursdays because that is the day the St. Norbert driver, delivers the Einstein’s bagels. Maybe a bagel doesn’t mean much to us, but to them it is the best present they receive, and it comes every Thursday.

…the Birthright organizers working with mothers that decide to not abort their babies tell you that without St Norbert’s help they can’t care for over 1,000 mothers a month.

      There are many unsung heroes here at St. Norbert’s who work behind the scenes to make these daily miracles possible with your generosity.  Although they are very humble, we want to give a special thanks this New Year’s to our volunteers working especially at:

1)       Bethesda Project which helps house, feed, clothe and especially love the homeless.  Thanks Michele Howard and your team.

2)      Wednesday Procurement Program that procures, sorts and distributes food to Birthright, Gaudenzia House, St. Joseph’s House, St. Gabes Food Cupboard and 20 local families. Where there is no hope we give them hope.  Thanks Nina Gallacher, Kay Watson and their team.

3)      Christmas Giving Tree that distributed gifts and gift cards to over 1,300 people and institutions at Christmas. We help them go from despair to sheer happiness.  Thanks Marsha and Manny Menendez, Carol Coyne Shannahan and their support team.

4)      St. Gabes Food Cupboard where we help feed over 700 families, provided over 1,000 bags of turkey trimmings, and over 500 turkeys to families at Thanksgiving. Hope not only at Thanksgiving, but all year around.  Thanks to Forrest Fisher who heads up the team of delivery drivers.

As Jesus said in Matthew, Chapter 25:40, “…Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

You, as parishioners, did and do so much for these least brothers of ours daily, weekly, monthly and during the holidays.

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts

Ed Grady

Director of Parish Outreach Programs

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