“What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?”
James 2: 14-16
story submitted by Br. Joseph Wilkowski, FSC
By now, we all know the story of this pandemic and its economic impact on the nation, particularly the poor. In his March reflection, Br. Thomas Casey gave us a wrenching reminder when he noted the incredibly long line of people awaiting food from Joseph House on Manhattan’s Lower East side. At the same time, over 150 Brothers received stimulus checks from the government. At the request of the Visitor, Br. Dennis Lee, these were generously donated to the Provincial Offices to create a fund for those in our Lasallian family most in need. In time, this fund grew to over $175,000.
A committee of four Brothers (Br. Craig Franz, Br. Lawrence Goyette, Br, Vincent Pelletier, and Br. Joseph Wilkowski) was formed to assist with the disposition of these funds. A call went out to our Brothers to suggest individuals or organizations who could use the funds. The results were almost overwhelming, making us even more aware of how people whose lives we touch were in the need of a helping hand. Over several zoom meetings, the committee was able to prioritize the grants. We immediately found need in Lasallian institutions, such as the San Miguel Schools, whose families were terribly affected by the recession. The next priority was to give to organizations with some Lasallian contact whose work was directly with the poor. One example that has been noted is POTS (Part of the Solution) in the Bronx where Lasallian Volunteers work. Finally, we were able to respond to those Brothers who had special contact with persons connected with their ministry, offering grants to many individuals.
Were we able to help those in need? “We are thankful for all you continue to do to allow us to help others,” is one testimonial. “Words cannot express our gratitude,” said another. A third points succinctly to the goals we established. “Our poorest of the poor will be very much appreciative and touched by the generosity you have shown them….we are able to help the poor families in our area financially with food, rent, electricity, gas, and medical bills.”
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25: 37-40