Hundreds pack meals to ‘feed my sheep’ Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Apr. 09, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- "You are the Gospel today."

Those were the words of Msgr. Ken Fiedler during his homily at a Mass attended by dozens of volunteers, some of whom had put in an eight-hour day.

For the fourth year in a row, the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison was busy with people of all ages packing meals for the hungry in the area and around the world.

It was the annual Feed My Sheep food-packaging event. The Westside Catholic Youth Network parishes -- including St. Maria Goretti in Madison, St. Bernard in Middleton, Good Shepherd in Madison, St. Thomas Aquinas in Madison, Holy Mother of Consolation in Oregon, and Our Lady Queen of Peace in Madison -- organized the event.

Parish groups, families, and other volunteers -- a good number of which were children of all ages -- took turns in three shifts to package nearly 100,000 meals.

The volunteer roles included placing empty food packages under a funnel; pouring in soy, dried vegetables, chicken flavoring powder, and rice; sealing the bags, and packaging them in a box.

Once a box was filled, a volunteer yelled, "Do you love me?" followed by the entire room yelling, "Feed my sheep!" from the Gospel of John.

Sustaining life

All during Lent, the involved parishes and others raised money for the meals. One dollar feeds four people for a day, $25 feeds 100 people for a day, and $90 feeds a child for a whole year.

Some of the meals packed are going to a school in Nicaragua; others will be given to local food pantries.

"We're just trying to sustain life in many of these areas," said John Wong, president of Kids Against Hunger, an organization that provided the food materials and helps to send them to kids and families who need it around the world.

Wong spoke to the volunteers during a short orientation session prior to packaging the food.

"It's powerful what you’re able to do," he told them. For the cost of feeding three people at an area burrito establishment, Wong said, one can feed 100 people for a day on just 25 of the meals they were about to pack.

We are the Gospel

At Mass after the event, Monsignor Fiedler, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace, continued his homily, congratulating the volunteers on their work and reflected on Pope Francis and "how strong he is on the need to reach out to the poor, the needy, and the marginalized," and St. Francis of Assisi's words of "preach often, but only when necessary use words."

Monsignor Fiedler told the volunteers they did the preaching on that day through their work.

"You gave up a beautiful Saturday" to help provide food to the hungry, he added. "Let's simply remember that we are the homily always. We are the Gospel."


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