"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome."
- Matthew 25:35
March 13, 2020 is a significant date for everyone who has ever entered the gates to Mater Dolorosa. That Friday was the first of many days the COVID-19 pandemic required us to close our doors. Our Retreat Ministry was brought to a halt, but our response to that was to offer spiritual opportunities online, on Facebook, and with email. Please see links at the bottom of this page.
Our second response was to help with the challenge of critical food shortages resulting from the pandemic. Thus, our Food Ministry program began. The primary objective of our Food Ministry program is to provide nutritious meals to communities of vulnerable seniors, families, and those without a home. This program also exemplifies our Passionist traditions of hospitality and compassion and allows us to feed the human spirit in a very practical way.
The meals we prepare for distribution meet the needs of those whose meal services have either been canceled or disrupted, or organizations who need assistance in meeting their prepared food distribution demands. Our professional kitchen staff are using our commercial kitchen for preparing, cooking, packaging, and freezing meals every week for pick up or delivery. Each meal costs $7.07 to produce. Our food ministry has grown from a small partnership with the City of Sierra Madre to feed vulnerable residents to a significant food ministry to the homeless and to families in the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles.
The Food Ministry program is sustained with donations from various sources. We have been blessed with corporate, community, foundation, and individual support that has enabled us to provide 55,000 meals to date. Cacique, the maker of specialty Mexican cheeses and cremas, has been a major supporter and partner in this ministry.
Thanks to Tom Tharayil and his company Pax Spices of Covina, CA, www.paxspices.com, we were able to offer a bag of spice with each $100 donation during our summer “Spice It Up” and our fall “Cooking with Passion” appeals. These two appeals are temporarily stopped, but we will be sure to let you know when spices are available again.
Despite the re-opening of some businesses and organizations, the need for prepared food and distribution services has not diminished, and to keep serving the most vulnerable, we still need your support!
A $100 donation will provide 15 meals to those in need at this critical time. Your donation, whatever the amount, is invaluable in keeping this much needed Food Ministry viable, our staff fully utilized, and achieving our mission in the most practical way we know how.
God Bless you all on behalf of the team at Mater Dolorosa. Pax Bonum (Peace & All Good),
Dr. Michael Cunningham, O.F.S.
Retreat Center Director