Notes From Near and Far

by Charlie Cavanaugh


Marian Centre Regina

July 15, 2020

Although we tell people our house is a “soup kitchen,” because of the pandemic, we have not served soup or stew for months. Instead we are giving out bagged lunches, made with lots of love and homey touches.

This is how that is happening. Because of COVID, our usual volunteers have been unable to come, so we invited them to contribute food, including baked goods, for lunch bag meals.

So they have been bringing baked goods, meat, cheese, bread, fruit, and other items. As a result, we have been able to put homemade baked goods into virtually every lunch bag.

The home-baked goods have been mainly muffins. One young student committed herself to making muffins for us every week and it has been a delight to see her come with this weekly gift. Many others make muffins as well, and a couple of our Friday volunteers responded by providing muffin pick-up service on that day.

Some weeks, this has meant we were given as many as 800 or more muffins of all shapes and sizes.

Volunteers have helped with the lunch program in other ways. One of them along with her grandchildren added artistry by painting beautiful designs of all sorts on hundreds of lunch bags.

Another volunteer, bringing all the ingredients, arranged for her family to come and make all the lunch bag meals—120 altogether. They had fun, and so did we in watching them. All but a few were distributed that day.

Our hospitality has never been limited only to providing needed food, but food has also enabled us to show gestures of kindness and friendship.

This has been harder for us to do, with the requirements of social distancing and the need to attend to the line of those waiting for lunch. However, we try to be creative and it doesn’t take long to smile and say a kind word. Moreover, some will linger, thus making conversations possible.

These months have been a time of appreciating the value of recent technological advances (stream-lined Masses, Zoom meetings, etc.). The telephone, too, though not recent technology, is our connection with many of our friends, old and young. But there is no substitute for seeing and meeting with people face-to-face.

We have managed this by going out in the evening by car and surprising friends at their homes, visiting them with social distancing. A couple of times we even succeeded in arranging “socially distanced” barbecues. So our ingenuity and delight have succeeded in bridging the distance.

One area of delight is our “resurrected” fenced-in garden, which was destroyed during the renovations three years ago.

This spring, it was rebuilt by several generous volunteers. To complete the “resurrection,” one couple came with their grandchildren and planted bedding plants and perennials. Now, under Christine Herlihy’s watchful eye and watering, the garden is flourishing.

We continue to thank God for his protection of this house during this COVID Time.