|by Matt Vogel|
People sometimes joke that everything that happens at St. Joseph House has to do with food. And well, there is quite a bit of truth to that. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, we get up, cook the soup, serve the soup and clean up from the soup. Everyday, we cook lunch, eat lunch, clean up from lunch, then cook dinner (for both St. Joe's and Maryhouse), eat dinner and clean up from dinner. Sundays, we even have a wonderful brunch. (We, naturally, don't want to look out of place amongst the hip restaurants in our increasingly gentrified neighborhood!) In between, we spend time hauling around crates of food--usually donated vegetables, bread and sometimes canned goods. When we do sit around talking, playing cards or watching TV, there is usually food involved. And, of course, food is always a central ingredient at all our parties--birthday parties, holiday parties, etc There is no question, food is a major part of life here.
Anyone who works with the poorer of our neighbors could probably write much the same thing. Once shelter of some kind is secured, the biggest item of the day, every day, is securing food. A week ago our St. Vincent de Paul conference participated in the annual Postal Workers' Food Drive. It is a long day, that ultimately nets our conference around a 1000 pounds of food. That doesn't last very long (about two weeks) but it is a big help. This year several of our new members took part in the food drive, and our pantry is still full of boxes, with literally everthing from soup to nuts!
And a good thing too, as my van is in the shop (and has been for most of the past week) with some strange problem with the back axel. The mechanic finally asked if I do much hauling in the van, and when I replied, why yes, once or twice a month I fill the back with 1400 pounds of food or so, he looked rather shocked! He suggests that that could be a problem. Well, it has done a number on the shocks, that's for sure. But with the extra food from the Postal Workers, I don't have to worry about not being able to make a second food run this month.
The Catholic Worker is not available online, else I'd provide a link. Some Catholic Worker houses are online, however, such as Bob Waldrop's Oklahoma City CW house. Bob's Better Times Almanac has several great sections on food, from how to be a more frugal shopper to a great book of recipes. Parts of his Family Food Security and Casino Shopping pages were made into a brochure called "Better Shopping" which you can download from our District SVDP site.