By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Just because the Easter season is over doesn’t mean the “JOY of Easter” is over. St. Anthony Parish invited patrons of McAnthony Window to attend a cookout and pick up toiletries and nonperishable snacks at its “Easter cookout” on May 20.
JOY stands for Jesus, Others and You. The cookout and distribution of donated items began three years ago.
Bill Lucas, in charge at the grill making foot-long hot dogs, estimated about 150 patrons attended this year’s event.
Sister Judy Herold, SSND, pastoral associate at St. Anthony’s, said the cookout gives her and other parishioners the opportunity to “get out and meet folks. It is beautiful to be out here and talk with them and get to know their names.”
In addition to food, tables were lined with boxes filled with items such as shampoo, razors, toothpaste, men’s briefs and socks, deodorant, granola bars, bottled water, toilet paper and tissues. Patons received a plastic bag in which to put their selected items.
Sr. Herold talked with a man who was having a particularly hard day. She encouraged him to stay at the window so he would not be tempted to do something he may not be happy about the next day.
She visited with other patrons as well as they ate hot dogs, baked beans and macaroni salad.
A patron named Jimmy said the food was, “good, real good.” He said having toiletry items “will help a lot of homeless and those in need. It’s going to help quite a few people.”
Another patron, Joyce, said a lot of people need the items and the donations were appreciated. “The food is great, too.”
Both guests said the crowd could be even bigger if the parish decided to expand the Easter program. “If they ‘voiced it’ more, there could be lines all through this parking lot,” Jimmy said.
Sally Kent of the parish’s social action committee said parishioners stepped up to fulfill the Easter season mission. Items were sorted into boxes and labeled and put on tables. Volunteers gave plastic bags to patrons so they could choose items.
Kent, along with Wilma Hauser, joined Sr. Herold in talking with patrons, listening to their stories, sharing a meal together, and just to say hello.
“We are all brothers and sisters in Christ,” Sr. Herold said.