By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Boxes full of personal hygiene and basic needs items were distributed to patrons of McAnthony Window who stopped by for a cookout April 25 at St. Anthony Parish. The boxes were part of the parish’s Easter distribution program. Its McAnthony Window provides a meal five days a week to more than 200 individuals who are in need.
St. Anthony’s distributes food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christ-mas and hosts a cookout near the date of Easter Sunday during which boxed items are distributed.
Volunteer Mike Hagen grilled 180 hamburgers for the cookout, with cheese as an option, during the two-hour lunch. “We distributed 140 in the first 1 ½ hours,” he said.
The parish’s monthly cookouts for people in need start in March or April and continue into the fall. In addition to burgers, patrons had a serving of homemade baked beans made by Parish Administ-rator Steve Vanderlinden, chips, sweet snack, apple, soda and water.
After lunch, the diners were encouraged to step over to the parish library where volunteers distributed 107 boxes of items including toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo, socks, T-shirts/undershirts, deodorant and ready-to-eat food items, parishioner Carrie Delcourt said.
This is the second year for the box distribution. The idea developed last year when Delcourt and fellow parishioner Mary Wacker were at fellowship in the library. “We saw these empty boxes from the food baskets and thought we could put those to use,” Delcourt said. The two talked with some McAnthony Window patrons about their needs, and compiled a list for parishioners.
During Lent, parishioners brought in sample- and full-size donations for the boxes. Families are encouraged to decorate the boxes as well.
Volunteers assembled the boxes as the event progressed. Because donations this year were up between 10-15 percent, additional boxes will be distributed at the May cookout, Delcourt said.
A group of volunteers plans to open the library on Wednesday mornings for McAnthony Window patrons “to enjoy fellowship as brothers and sisters.” They will be invited to sit, eat their meals and talk. Parishioners hope to offer more services for the patrons in the future.
“I really appreciated today’s meal,” said Aaron, who asked that his last name not be printed. “They are here to help the community and there is a need in this community. I appreciate all the good things they have done for us.”
Anne Morey, McAnthony Window supervisor, said the meal site typically serves 150 meals per week. As the weather improves, the numbers will rise. When the cookouts are offered, the numbers are even higher