By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
MUSCATINE — Jim Weigand is giving thanks for what he calls a terrific volunteer effort to provide families in need in Muscatine with a filling Thanksgiving meal.
Jim, a member of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine, oversaw a crew of volunteers that distributed Thanksgiving dinners last month to feed 750 people. Meals were delivered in Muscatine to the Jesus Mission, the Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA, which operates a homeless shelter), the battered women’s shelter and to individual homes of people in need.
Jim purchased the dinners at a discounted rate from Hy-Vee in Muscatine. Funding for the meals came from proceeds of the annual Beef and Noodle Fundraiser held Nov. 8 at the parish, along with donations from individuals and businesses. Desserts were provided by Hy-Vee and by parishioners, too.
Volunteers who assisted with organizing and delivering the meals included Jim’s fellow members of Knights of Columbus Council No. 1305 and parishioner Michelle Schaapveld and her daughters.
“It was just a wonderful response,” said Jim, referring to the Thanksgiving meal deliveries and the Beef and Noodle fundraiser that helps make it possible. The Beef and Noodle fundraiser drew more than 450 people this year, he noted. That event required many volunteers as well. The daughter and son-in-law of Jim and his wife, Carol, donated the beef for the fundraiser.
And to think, Jim began this mission to feed the hungry at Thanksgiving nine years ago when he and Carol purchased a meal for one family. Next year, he’s hoping to feed more than 1,000 people.
While he’s thinking about next year, Jim said he’s passing the baton for chairing the Beef and Noodle fundraiser to a young couple from the parish, Eric and Emily Blair.
“When Carol and I started this thing, we wanted to make sure that MCSA was taken care of. I just have a soft spot in my heart for the homeless shelter. It’s the only one in Muscatine County. Sister Irma Reis, PBVM, was directing MCSA at the time. We connected up and the rest is history.
“I also wanted to get the Knights of Columbus involved so that people in Muscatine would understand that the KCs are known worldwide for charity.