Makiko, a parishioner at Holy Cross Parish, in Burnaby recalls, “ It was on Friday, March 27, after I read the article in the BC Catholic https://bccatholic.ca/news/catholic-van/pray-for-homeless-forced-from-shelters-by-covid-19-hostel-head I saw Sister Chita’s loving genuine smile disappearing, and that made my heart ache. I met Sister Chita and Frances, the DIO co-managers, in 2017 and I once volunteered to serve meals. After the State of Emergency of COVID – 19 was declared, I was thinking of Sister Chita and the people who are coming to the DIO to obtain meals, and then when I read the BC Catholic’s article, I was so saddened by the fact not only do they need to make more sandwiches (usually 250+, now need 400+) but they only have a few helpers assisting them due to the pandemic. Right away, I was inspired to offer my assistance.”
She contacted Frances to ask about preparing sandwiches at home and then dropping them off at DIO, if food safety rules permitted, and was very happy when Frances quickly replied to accept her offer. Makiko continues, “Next day (Saturday, March 28), I asked 9 other people who are parishioners of Holy Cross Church in Burnaby to help with this initiative. Everyone said, YES! So, I brought bread, peanut butter and jam to the people who couldn’t go out shopping and they generously offered me money. Others picked those items while they usually go for grocery shopping once a week. On Sunday, March 29, my husband and I collected sandwiches from homes; some left a box filled with wrapped sandwiches by the door, some brought the box between us and I collected them after they stepped back, so we maintained our social distance very well.
We collected 250+ sandwiches that day and brought them to DIO. It was so great to see Sister Chita again and a few of her helpers. Their faces lit up and our hearts warmed up. On our way back from DIO, I called everyone to tell them how it went and asked if they would do it again the following week. I realized that our thirst to help others was quenched by this simple act of making sandwiches at home to help DIO and the people in need during this challenging time of the pandemic. Many of us were volunteers in various roles prior to the State of Emergency, and were regular contributors to the marginalized people of our city. What made it more significant was that we were no longer able to freely go out and help others. We struggled, ‘I want to help people, but how?’
Now we pick up the sandwiches from our parishioners homes every Sunday morning, and at their door steps, all of their faces are filled with the joy of sharing, the joy of offering hands, and the joy of being our Lord’s servants. My joy is that I get to see Holy Cross parishioners that I miss deeply once a week!
I am not sure how long we are going to do this, but we would love to help until DIO gets enough helpers to make sandwiches and the Men’s Hostel can take the maximum capacity in the near future. We are so blessed to be a part of the Holy Cross community in Burnaby.”
Thank you Makiko for organizing this outreach response, and thank you to the generous parishioners of Holy Cross Parish and their pastor, Fr. Chris, who blessed their idea and their work.