SAINT MICHAEL'S LOAVES & FISHES
St. Michael’s Loaves and Fishes prepare and deliver meals on Wednesday mornings each week to the sick and shut in of our parish. They may be family, or a friend of a parishioner, or of the St. Florian community. On average, 50-60 meals are delivered each week.
HISTORY OF LOAVES & FISHES
Father Thomas O’ Connor, O.S.B., served our parish in the years 1992-1996. Father Thomas was a godly man, one very much interested in the well-being of his parishioners, both spiritually and physically. He suggested to Atha DiPrima and to Sandra Krieger that he would like for St. Michael parish to serve food to the sick and shut-ins in the community. Sandra Krieger had been wanting to do something like what Father Thomas suggested. Atha and her husband Leonard came to our parish from a church that had such a ministry. Atha suggested the name “Loaves & Fishes” for our group.
In 1995, Thomas and Anna Harris and their school-age children Tom and Amy were members of St. Michael’s Parish. Tom became ill and Anna was already ill. Sandra Krieger responded to this family in need by inviting Jackie Berrens to come to the Krieger home to prepare meals for the Harris family. Thus, the ministry was born.
In the early years, the meals were cooked in the Krieger home and the ministry included a thirty minute or more visit widi each of the clients. Some meals were cooked in the Berrens home on the lake. As the number of clients grew, the need for a larger kitchen and work area developed. The ministry was then moved to the parish house. In the beginning years of this organization, each individual member brought the items used to prepare the meals. Someone would bring potatoes, someone would bring green beans, and someone else would bring items to make salad. Many times these fruits and vegetables would be from the bounty of their home gardens. Other parishioners would make desserts. On cooking day, everyone had an assigned job, but all worked for the common cause. Many of the clients made donations to the organization. Until this day, Loaves & Fishes has never received any money from the parish budget. During the time of Abbot Victor Clark, O.S.B., he graciously donated some large pots and pans.
For many years, Loaves & Fishes had an annual fundraising event which was to make dressing to sell to parishioners and those in the community who had simply learned about event. The plan is to return to making dressing in Fall 2023.
Early workers included Charles & Sandra Krieger, Jackie Berrens, Craig & Rose Connolly, Atha DiPrima, Vicky Czermak, Charlie & Maty Alice Meyer, Carl Peters, Ruth Eckl, Cleo Rasch, Cindy Varner, Alice Crafton, Libby Knight, Ann Thom, Genevieve Broadfoot, Mary Catherine Broadfoot, Carolyn Powers, Gracie Locker, George Locker, Mary Nell Krieger, Brenda Krieger, and Lynn Bemauer-Murphy.
Around 2015, the number of clients rose to approximately 55 or 60. Just before Covid, Loaves & Fishes was serving about 65 meals per week. By that time some of the members had died, moved away, or were no longer able to help. Mary Lou Wilson, Jennifer Halen, Dianne Cutshaw, Meri Martin, and Brian Simon were among those helping pre-Covid. No meals were delivered for one year during Covid. In late Spring of 2021, we contracted with Homeside Restaurant to prepare meals which were picked up and then delivered. In October 2022, the Knights of Columbus graciously donated Langer Hall for Loaves & Fishes to use for food preparation. Presently, Loaves & Fishes is serving approximately 30 meals each week.
The first officers were President Sandra Krieger, Vice-President Jackie Berrens, Secretary Viclty Czermak, and Treasurer Atha DiPrima. Upon the retirement of Sandra and Jackie, Libby Knight and Vicky Czennak became Co-Presidents.
Present workers include President Bridget Estelle, Vice-President Linda Tamayo, Secretary Carolyn Eck, Treasurer Frances Holder, Bud & Pat Ward, Carol Mecke, Brenda & Steve Kirkpatrick, Victor Hurtarte, Don & Pat Melville, Danny Tamayo, Harold & Patti Kenyon, Mary Anne Curtice, and Mark Smith.
A new kitchen is being installed in the Gym and the group is looking forward to resuming cooking on the parish grounds.
To this day, Loaves & Fishes relies on providence, donations, money received from memorials, and bequeaths. An anonymous donor left a substantial gift to Loaves & Fishes several years ago.