Third-graders from All Saints School in Hayward.
aLL: MICHELE JURICH/THE CATHOLIC VOICE
32 groups net Rice Bowl grants to help feed hungry
Hunger knows no ZIP Code. The 32 organizations that shared $20,000 in grants from CRS Rice Bowl represent every corner of the Diocese of Oakland. What they have in common is that food baskets, brown bags and on paper plates in dining rooms, they bring food to the people who need it most.
In his opening prayer, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, remembered those who made those grants possible. "Please bless those who have donated to the Rice Bowl campaign throughout our diocese," he said. "Bless them for having shared with others the blessing God has given to them."
The grants, which were distributed Dec. 3 in the parish hall of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, are made from the 25 percent of the annual Catholic Relief Services' annual Lenten Rice Bowl collection that stays in the diocese.
Among the grant recipients were 19 parish-based conferences of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in both counties. In addition, the Contra Costa district and the Hope chapter, based in central Contra Costa County, received awards. Grants ranged from $500 to $850.
The recipients, for the most part, are run by volunteers. "Please bless these recipients of our Rice Bowl grants, these people here who are fulfilling your command to feed those who hunger and give drink to those who thirst," the bishop prayed.
Later, the bishop told them: "You are living out the Christian call to love one another, to help our neighbors in need through the corporal works of mercy which were commanded us by Christ. Your ministry is central to the mission of the church in the Diocese of Oakland. You are doing God's work, and in His name, I say thank you, God bless you."
In his opening remarks, the bishop had a few words for the youngest people to receive a grant: the third-graders at All Saints School in Hayward.
"Third grade is pretty young. It's just after your First Communion," the bishop said, telling the audience the students will use the grant to prepare lunches for the poor. The students will use their $550 grant to buy the ingredients for sandwiches, which they'll prepare, then add water, fruit and cookies to the bag lunch.
"We're teaching the young from a very early age, especially at this time of year, and then they can realize how much God has given them. It opens your awareness of how much God has blessed you, with food on your table and a roof over your head, and a family and a warm bed every night," the bishop said.
"It's teaching them to take care of others. This is what Catholic school is all about."
In accepting the award on behalf of her students, their teacher, Marianne Landis, said, "I promised I'd show them the check when we get back." They will begin making the lunches in January.
The stories from the recipients told of meeting greater need than the year before. The Delta Christian Community Food Pantry, for example, serves "the green belt of Contra Costa County," Evo Coelho said. "We have a lot of seasonal workers," he said. "A lot are in line for food right now."
St. Vincent de Paul's client base at St. Columba Parish in Oakland has grown, Joanne Dickerson-Harper said. The parish also is providing bags to travelers, the term they prefer to use instead of "homeless."
The outstanding service award was presented to Dave McKeown, the former coordinator of the social justice ministry at All Saints Parish in Hayward. His service includes ministry at the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition.
Bishop Barber thanked McKeown for "all that you have done in your exceptional service to the parish and the Hayward community in doing social outreach to the poor."
"Thank you for being one of my heroes in the Diocese of Oakland," the bishop said.
"It's been a privilege to do this work," McKeown said. He had some encouraging words for his fellow workers: "It's been a privilege to do this work. I pray that you continue to work and live your faith, you continue to encounter Jesus Christ in the people you serve, and I know for a fact, and I pray, that the people you serve continue to encounter Jesus Christ in you as you serve them."
All Saints School, Hayward, $550
Ariel Outreach Mission, Oakland, $850
Delta Christian Community Food Pantry, Byron, $600
Kmhmu Laotian Pastoral Center, Richmond, $850
New Hope Baptist Church, Oakland, $850
Oakland Catholic Worker, $750
Project Outreach, Inc., Oakland, $850
St. John Vianney Church, Walnut Creek, $500
St. Mary Magdalen Church, Berkeley, $500
St. Vincent de Paul, Church of the Assumption, San Leandro, $500
St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County, $500
St. Vincent de Paul Hope Conference, Contra Costa County, $500
St. Vincent de Paul, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Brentwood, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, Our Lady of Grace Church, Castro Valley, $500
St. Vincent de Paul, Our Lady Queen of the World Church, Bay Point, $750
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Anne Church, Byron, $500
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Augustine Church, Oakland, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Bede Church, Hayward, $500
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Benedict Church, Oakland, $750
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Bonaventure Church, Concord, $500
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Callistus Church, El Sobrante, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Catherine of Sienna Church, Martinez, $750
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Clement Church, Hayward, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Columba Church, Oakland, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jerome Church, El Cerrito, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Joachim Church, Hayward, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. John the Baptist Church, El Cerrito, $750
St. Vincent de Paul, St. John the Baptist Church, San Lorenzo, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Joseph Church, Fremont, $600
St. Vincent de Paul, St. Patrick Church, Rodeo, $600
Sister John Marie's Food Pantry, Fremont, $500
Sister Rose Carroll's Ministry, $700
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