Feeding the hungry in downtown Madison Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Sep. 22, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
pro labore dei
Volunteers with Pro Labore Dei have been feeding the homeless and hungry in downtown Madison for almost 13 years. (Contributed photo)

MADISON -- On June 4 of this year, volunteers with Pro Labore Dei (PLD)-Madison chapter served their 100,000th meal to homeless people in downtown Madison. As of September 17, the number of meals served passed 103,000, according to Jim Flad, local PLD coordinator.

“In this Year of Mercy, we are grateful and thankful to God for choosing us to be His hands and legs here in Madison,” said Flad.

Since its inception on Friday, Sept. 26, 2003, Pro Labore Dei-Madison has offered meals on Fridays and Saturdays. Besides food, PLD has provided many clothing and toiletry items to homeless people.

Founded by Sister

Pro Labore Dei was founded by Sr. Stella-Maris Okonkwo 25 years ago. She has become known as the “Mother Teresa of Nigeria.”

PLD has spread throughout the world and now spans five continents, providing education to needy children; housing for the orphaned, abandoned, and poor; food and clothing to those in need; skill training for those seeking work; visits to those in prison; health care for the sick, including lepers; counseling; and prayer for all who need hope.

Feeding the hungry

When she came to Madison in 2003, Sister Stella-Maris insisted that there were hungry people in Madison. She told the volunteers, “Let’s go to the heart of the city.” The volunteers prepared food and went with Sister Stella-Maris to State St. in downtown Madison.

“With some uncertainty in our steps, two of us walked out onto the street with 12 paper lunch bags in our hands,” recalled Flad. “But our loving God showed us the way as we encountered one homeless person after another, thankful for the food.

“The 12th person received this food and wanted to give us something in return. Imagine our surprise as he sang ‘Amazing Grace’ to us there on the street!”

Pro Labore Dei welcomes more volunteers and monetary contributions. For more information, contact Jim Flad at 608-833-5472.

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