Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago

St. Zachary

Sandwiches make a difference, no baloney

20 years and nearly 78,000 sandwiches later, the St. Vincent de Paul conference at St. Zachary in Des Plaines is still pumping out sandwiches in assembly line fashion every month.

250 ham and cheese sandwiches are carefully prepared and delivered along with juice boxes to the Franciscan Shelter, House of Mary and Joseph every first Saturday of the month; and another 300 bologna and cheese sandwiches are made and delivered to Port Ministries every second Saturday.

"It's a good feeling knowing we are providing immediate and direct help to people by providing them a meal," said longtime Vincentian and sandwich program coordinator Dave Mueller. Mueller oversees three teams of volunteers who make the sandwiches using 33 loaves of bread, 550 slices of cheese and 1100 slices of deli meat ensuring all are carefully wrapped, boxed, and placed in the freezer until they are delivered to the shelters the day after they are made.

"Hunger is an overwhelming problem in poor neighborhoods especially for the children. We help feed nearly 600 people every month between the two shelters we make sandwiches for," Mueller said.

The unsung heroes and heroines giving time to provide a meal for those less fortunate include Bernadette Bartus, Doreen and Jack Bryers, Barbara and Jack Cavelenes, Deidre Christopher, Betty Iwanski, Maureen Kluge, Kathy, Jeanne, Christine, Joseph and Jean Leisten, Dave Mueller, Betty Owing, Diane Rabicke, Jack and Peggy Smidowicz, Joan Steger, Ed and Nancy Sullivan, and Mary Van Wazer.

For more information about the Port Ministries and Franciscan Shelter, House of Mary and Joseph sandwich programs, please call 312.655.7183.

Dave Mueller, sandwich program coordinator   
Jack Cavelenes   

Queen of Angels

John HigginsBeing different makes a difference

For most children, the anticipation of celebrating their birthday with friends brings about a well-crafted wish list of presents - the toy they've been eyeing at the store or the latest video game. But a SVdP Easter food distribution at Queen of Angels Church in Chicago gave soon-to-be eight year old John Higgins, son of longtime parishioners Don and Monica Higgins, the inspiration to do something different.

John decided to have a mini food drive of his own at his birthday party. John requested that in lieu of gifts, his friends bring canned or bagged food items to help feed the poor. 22 enthusiastic children and their parents brought bags and boxes filled with food items that quickly filled the back of the family's minivan.

The Higgins family, very appreciative of the overwhelming generosity of the children and parents who donated items, selected SVdP at Queen of Angels to benefit from the mini food drive because it helps people right in their own neighborhood. "We should donate to SVdP because they help poor people who don't have as much as us," John said.

To learn how you too can help your neighbors in need with food donations, contact the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at 312.655.7183.