Thursday, February 26, 2009

Capital Area Food Bank Recognizes Saint Anthony of Padua

From the Capital Area Food Bank's newsletter, The Teller:

"Help without boundaries. This is how Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church has been serving the community since becoming a food bank member in November 2006. Their program initially served 60-80 families per day. Today, they serve 80 families daily and sometimes up to 120 families daily.

With the help of their pantry coordinator Mr. Ubaldo Cisneros (and Saint Anthony of Padua's Social Justice Minister, chef extraordinaire -- come to the St. Patrick's Dinner and try his corned beef and cabbage or Guinness stew, and sacristan at the 1:00 pm Mass), the church sees no limit with helping families. 'With this ministry it does not matter where you live or what county you belong to, we will always serve you,' Cisneros said.

Even when Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church distributes the food to the families, they also purchase their own food supplies so that the families can come get food more than once a week if they need it. 'I think this is why so many people come to get food from our church, because we don't establish a limit on them,' Cisneros said.

The ministry raises funds through a poor box (the Padua Fund) that is located right in front of the statue of Saint Anthony at the church. With this money they purchase additional food in big quantities that they pack into individual sizes so that they can alwasy have food to keep helping families. They use these funds for basic food like rice, beans, sugar. 'Our church members already know what we use the poor box money for, and they are always very generous,' Cisneros said.

Behind all this work there is an amazing team of volunteers (THEY ARE AMAZING!) that organize this wonderful activity. The ministry has fifteen part time and two full time volunteers. 'Some help to fill out the forms, others pack the food, here is always something to get done for the next day to keep distributing,' Cisneros said.

In addition to food pantry operations, Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church goes far and beyond by preparing 300 breakfasts every Saturday to distribute to the day labor workers and the homeless. The breakfast consists of a sandwich, and soda or juice. During the winter time they prefer to serve hot chocolate to keep the homeless warm. 'The area where they live is a very needy area, there are a lot of low-income families that live there and need our help,' Cisneros said.

The Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church...faithfully supports the mission of the Capital Area Food Bank, and we are proud to have them as a member of our organization."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Healthy Heart Fair

On Sunday, Februay 15th the Saint Anthony of Padua Parish Nurse Ministry held a health fair focused on heart health and cardiac risk assessment. The program was open to the parish and neighborhood communities and provided bilingual health counseling in areas like stroke, diabetes, smoking cessation, and exercise as well as blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose screenings. Over 120 individuals participated supported by a team of volunteer nurses, students from George Mason University School of Nursing, parish volunteers, and helpers from the Knights of Columbus Roses and the Youth Ministry. As one participant noted, "It was like having Johns Hopkins come to Saint Anthony."