Speech given by Brian Pozzi at Masses last weekend
For the past few years, we at Emmaus House had the privilege of providing a mass announcement about our ministry. We are blessed to have the opportunity to do so again.
If you are new to the parish, or simply need a refresher, allow me to provide a brief description of what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters.
Each Sunday night, with a few exceptions, right below us in Father Valker Hall we provide a community dinner and perishable food pantry for those who face difficulties with feeding themselves and their families. The dinners themselves are generously provided by various groups looking for outreach opportunities such as: St Francis ministries, parish groups, civic groups, businesses, area churches and school organizations.
We hand out dairy, meat, bread and produce to our guests in the harvest room following dinner. This bounty is designed to help our guests make it through the week more comfortably until our dinner the following week. The food is donated by our generous retail partners in the area, such as Costco, Jewel, Mariano’s, Trader Joe’s just to name a few. Our volunteers go out to each of these establishments each week to rescue this food that we provide in the harvest room.
In addition to Sunday dinner and food pantry Emmaus House also sponsors other important programs for our guests including: Jeepers Sneakers, which provides back to school shoes for children, Undie Sunday which distributes new underwear and socks for school age children.
Emmaus does other important work in our community. For example, in the past year, we have provided funding to pay rents, mortgages and utilities for people in danger of losing their homes or apartments. This critical funding provides people with much needed time to get back on their feet financially and to stay in their residencies. These are just a few of the examples of the great things that the Emmaus House does each week.
As always, thank you to all who have volunteered or supported Emmaus House in any way by giving of your time, talents, resources and prayers. We could not do this without everyone’s help and we should be proud of this as parishioners in the Lord’s work.
Each year, we asked for additional support for our mission and the Lord answered our prayers. It is important to note that we are an entirely volunteer-led ministry. We have no employees of any kind. All of our Board Members and volunteers carve out time from their other family and professional responsibilities to contribute to this ministry. Each year following mass announcements we are invigorated by new members of Emmaus House who work at our dinners, or rescue food, or serve on our Board or in some amazing cases, do all of the above. We are so grateful for the extra sets of hands, hearts and minds. It is truly a blessing.
We pray that this year will be no different as we are still in need of new volunteers. The good news is we have a great program set up by our founders. It’s our job to continue what they have put in place. You can help as little as you want or as much as you want. A much needed opportunity is to be Emmaus representative/coordinator for Rock the Block – for a third year Emmaus House will be the recipient of raffle proceeds that we will use to help us fund our important community projects. There are many more short or long term projects. The message is simply this. If you feel that you want to lend a hand, we will find a way for you to help as little or as much as you would like and fits your desires.
If you would like to learn more about Emmaus House and how you could help, I invite you to go to our website through the parish website, or give us a call. We are listed in the bulletin each week and the parish e-newsletter.
Finally, we cannot say it enough, on behalf of the entire Emmaus House, “Thank you Father Ryan for your support of our ministry”. We could not continue to function without your blessing. For the past several years Emmaus House has been the recipient of the raffle proceeds for Rock the Block. We would not be fortunate enough to have that benefit without the partnership and support of Father Ryan. This is just one example, among countless other times, that Father Ryan looks out for opportunities to further the Emmaus House ministry.
Thank you again Father Ryan and thank you all for your support and for listening to our request for further help.
In memory of Cecilia Solecki, longtime tireless volunteer for Emmaus House and other parish ministries.