On February 5, we said goodbye to the 27 men and women that St. Mary's had hosted in Winter Relief for the past week in Seelos Hall.
Our parishioners worked hard to provide a warm and welcoming environment for them this week and our guests indicatedthat they very much appreciate the hard work and effort that made the week a pleasant one for them. Father Tizio and the St. Vincent de Paul Society thank the many members of St. Mary's parish whose contributions of time, and donations of food and talent helped provide comfort for our guests.
Thank you to the many parishioners and parish organizations that made this possible. More than 250 of our parishioners provided food for the meals, the staple pantry items, and gift bags for our guests and staffed the shifts during the evening, late at night and in the early morning throughout the week. The Walking with Purpose group provided the linens for our guests.
The faculty and administrators of St. Mary's Elementary school made and delivered delicious lunches for our guests to take with them each day. Elementary School students and parents organized an unbelievably generous collection that funded St. Vincent de Paul Society efforts to determine and meet some of the needs of our guests including: clothing, critical car repairs for two of our guests, satisfy payment requirements to allow another guest to qualify for public housing, make a storage unit payment for a guest, provide hearing aid batteries for another guest and provide each guest with an Annapolis transit pass with a number of rides to use during their week with us.
The Knitting Ministry knitted and donated beautiful hat and scarf sets that were very popular with our guests. Catholic Daughters of America hosted a very well received night of bingo. On Friday night our St. Mary's Hispanic community provided dinner and entertainment as well as staffing for the evening and nighttime shifts. The St. Mary's High School Youth group, prepared brought and hosted dinner for our guests, seated them at their tables, took their orders from a selection of delicious entrees and served dinner at their tables. They also provided individually designed handmade blankets for each guest who wanted one. The feast was followed by another night of bingo. Both bingo nights featured many prizes primarily featuring gift cards donated by parishioners totaling $775 in value. In addition to bingo prizes, gift cards were given to each of our guests as they left us on Monday morning. Each evening when bingo was not underway, parishioners volunteered to provide live musical entertainment for our guests.
Thanks also to St. Mary's schools who donated use ofthe Athletic Association bus to transport guests to Bates Middle school for showers during the week and for the school's permission to use the new Athletic Team Facility for guest showers on Saturday. One helpful parishioner drove the bus for the shower runs. Others washed, dried and folded all the linens used during the week and returnedthem ready to use again next year. For the second year in a row, a parishioner recruited the owner of their hair salon to come to Seelos Hall to provide hair cuts for all of our guests who wanted a haircut and two parishioners provided manicures.
The St. Mary's facilities department set up Seelos Hall for winter relief, supported us throughout the week and took everything down after our guests left. We thank Fr. Dau for joining us in winter relief most of the evenings to talk with guests and volunteers. Several of our guests took us up on our offer to attend mass at St. John Neumann. It takes the entire St. Mary's parish to support an activity like winter relief and parishioners responded with enthusiasm. Thank you for everyone of you who enabled St. Mary's to care for those in need and for the many parishioners who kept Winter Relief in your prayers.
St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.