Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. Hope all are safe, happy and together in spirit, if not in person, today for today’s special feast. I wanted to share with all of you the manifestation of our Mission to serve others in need from St. Mary’s Clinic during this time of great economic and social need. Two endeavors stand out in particular: We have been able to utilize 2 special grants to assist our patients with rent and utilities and, in several cases, prevent evictions and utility shutoffs. There is never a good time of the year in Texas to be without electricity. Through these grants we have been able to help about 30 families. We hope to continue to offer assistance to more families as we identify their needs.

The second endeavor is our yearly handout of Thanksgiving food baskets. We usually hand out about 15 baskets (20 max) to our patients and their families but this year, due to the overwhelming generosity of the Sisters and friends, we were able to prepare and handout 46. As you all know, each family coming to get a basket has their own story to tell, many of caring for special needs children, grandchildren or of having no family at all and living with whatever resources can be mustered. We at SMC were so proud to be able to share with our less fortunate brothers and sisters a little bit of cheer.

Traditionally, we fill the baskets with the makings of a Thanksgiving dinner; the staff shops for the ingredients and prepares the basket. We allot $100 per basket. But with the pandemic, we had to rethink our strategy and, like it is with so many other things right now, go “virtual.” As you can see in the pictures, the virtual basket is a reusable grocery bag with a sack of apples and oranges (people on limited budgets don’t tend to buy fruit). Attached to each grocery bag is a small decorated bag containing $100 Walmart gift card so that each family can buy what they want for Thanksgiving and beyond. I have to admit it decreases some of the specialness of a holiday meal but, at the same time, is more practical given the current financial and social circumstances. I am sure each of you has done something similar in your own work or social community for those in need. So I give thanks that we are blessed to “have” and blessed to share with those who “have not.” Blessings on your holiday, however that might look. – Sr. Rosanne Popp

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