God’s love has been packaged up into beautiful blessing bags at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Winter Park. Dozens of sacks filled with healthy snacks, treats, water, toiletries and more are ready to be handed out to those in need. Staff members brainstormed the Lenten service project and because everyone was so generous, there are more bags for the future.
Each staff member took 5 bags, wrote words of encouragement on them, and then took them to their cars. The idea is to have those bags handy at all times for anyone who might need one.
Gloria Miller, who works in the church office, already experienced a very special encounter. She passed out two bags in one weekend. “Both thanked me, but one man was so happy!” she explained. “He thanked me profusely and immediately left to go sit on the curb to drink the water and eat something. It left me smiling and thankful knowing he really needed what we provided.”
Brother Paul Santoro, O.F.M. added, “In Luke Chapter 12, we are reminded that much is expected from those who have been given much. Preparing and delivering these blessing bags is a simple way for me to remember the importance of giving back to those who are less fortunate.”
Many others shared they felt blessed to give away items many of us take for granted. They also reflected on the notion that Lent is not always about giving up something, but doing something instead. The team plans to do the project again this fall, but they will also add in cold weather items like hand warmers, socks, and hats.
“Preparing and distributing bags for those who are struggling made me realize that we are all hungry,” said Parish Communications Coordinator Ramona Cammarata. “Some for physical nourishment, others, like myself, for spiritual nourishment. Giving to others helped satisfy my spiritual hunger by encountering Jesus in the suffering.”
By Jennifer Drow, Florida Catholic correspondent – March 14, 2018