Thursdays are usually a slow day and a time to catch up for volunteers at the Lady of Charity Clothes Closet and Food Pantry at St. Hugo of the Hills in Bloomfield Hills. But that was hardly the case this week as more than a dozen regulars joined the annual effort to feed a needy family this Christmas.
For three hours, these volunteers with The Lady of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Oakland County Association packed and labeled large shopping bags of food items tailored to meet the size of a family that otherwise may not have a homecooked Christmas meal.
By noon, the group had packed 3,628 cans, boxes or pouches of food into more than 200 bags that will serve 126 families. A $5 Meijer gift card is also included in each bag. Overall, the meals should reach roughly 500 people this Christmas.
"I just want to give back to the community and I actually have fun," said Bloomfield Hills resident Lynn Martin, who's helped coordinate the effort for the past four years. "It's a great group of eople and we've made a lot of good friendships being here."
The volunteers chatted about common interests, holiday shopping, family and any number of topics while they navigated around each other and the supplies in the small confines of the Clothes Closet and Food Pantry.
"We have a saying here that if you're not bumping into anyone, you're not working," said Sally Houck of Birmingham.
The Lady of Charity is the oldest Catholic laywoman's organization on the globe. The Oakland County Association formed in 1965 and now has more than 300 members.
The food is provided by a combination of drives from local schools, clubs and generous donors from around the community. The recipients are referred to the organization from several different social workers and parishes serving families throughout the county.
The group does get a lot of experience by hosting similar dinner-packing events for Thanksgiving and Easter.
"I actually got involved because I donated clothes here and saw how busy it was and how much activity there is," she said. Moglia now volunteers weekly during regular hours, which are:
- 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday and Tuesday
- 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday