Being a witness

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS | Toes tapped to the tune of “Walking on Sunshine” as 200 St. Mary Magdalen parishioners packed 30,000 meals for Feeding the Children, Feb. 22. Amidst bells ringing every time a box was filled, men, women and children answered the call to feed the hungry.

The parish service project focused on tackling hunger and being a witness of faith. Father Charles Mitchell, pastor of the Altamonte Springs parish said, “We are declaring our 60th anniversary the year of the witness. Part of being the witness is to go out.” He said the parish accidentally discovered Feeding Children Everywhere and the match seemed heaven sent. The non-profit organization provided the location, set up and food, funded by the parish, marking the largest packing event of the year so far. “This is something we, as a parish community, can get behind,” added Father Mitchell. “We are trying to feed our parish spiritually, but also turn our attention to the community so folks know we are willing to partner with them.”

Ramón Montero is a mail carrier who works Saturdays, but he used his lunch shift to serve. As a missionary in Santo Domingo he recalled, “I saw many hungry people. I want to do something different to help others. I want to be here to make a difference.” Alina Sacerio-Polak is part of Eamon’s Circle Council of Catholic Women. Referring to the project as a mission, she said, “We have to do for others all the time. That’s what Jesus said. If we don’t do that, we don’t live our faith.”

Among those gathered was Danny Chang, his wife and six children. In addition to the desire to give back to the community, he said “We also want to teach our children not to just think about themselves, but to help others.” His wife noted the children were eager to be a part of it. They understood there were others not as fortunate as they are.

On April 4, parishioners will pack another 30,000 meals to mark the end of Lent, modeling Christ’s humility, service and love of neighbor. Good Samaritan Outreach, in concert with the Orlando Coalition of the Homeless, will be one of the recipient charities of the food packing.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic February 26, 2020