St. Dominic Savio Parish Volunteers Serve Up 25 Years of Meals to Shalom House
An Affton parish has been cooking and sharing home-cooked meals with a St. Louis women’s shelter.
Call it food for the soul. Or is it food from the soul?
Either way, a group of women from St. Dominic Savio Parish on Mackenzie Road are cooking up and sharing homemade meals on a weekly basis with the residents at Shalom House, a St. Louis nonprofit agency that provides programs and services to homeless women with mental illness and chemical dependency.
"There are about 55 women from (St. Dominic Savio) involved in this outreach," said Carol Buck, a member of the Affton parish who oversees the Shalom House program.
Shalom House operates a 90-day emergency shelter, 24-month transitional housing program and an ongoing "aftercare" program. It will soon be expanding its services by offering permanent supportive housing.
The St. Dominic Savio outreach was organized a quarter century ago by Sister Liz Peplow and parishioner Dee McCormick, with Buck taking the lead after McCormick died six years ago.
"Many women in the parish wanted to be involved in community outreach and, of course, cooking and preparing meals was a feasible task for them," Buck explained.
The women prepare dishes in their homes every Thursday, as well as one Monday and three weekends each month, and bring them to Shalom House for the residents.
"We coordinate with each other to plan well-balanced, delicious meals, and there are some really great cooks in this group," Buck said. "On Mondays, many of our ladies are working, so they will pick up fried chicken and bring in some side dishes. And on weekends, we will bring in pre-made casseroles so the women can heat them up and enjoy a hot breakfast the next day."
In addition to cooking the meals and bringing them to Shalom House, the St. Dominic Savio volunteers also serve and dine with the women most of the time.
"I'm very grateful for these women because they take the time out of their busy lives to cook and eat with us," said Shelia Scott, a resident of Shalom House. "Everything they make is good!"
Marcy Bursac, development director at Shalom House, said the St. Dominic Savio volunteers are very dependable.
"Many of our women have gotten to know them well throughout the years," she said. "Many of our residents even ask the volunteers to share their recipes so they can use them once they move into permanent housing."
The partnership between St. Dominic Savio parish and Shalom House is valuable to both groups of women. Volunteer Marianne Hutti sums it up: "We make the meals with love, and receive love and appreciation in return."
To find out how you can get involved as a volunteer or meal provider, call 314-534-1010 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To help out with St. Dominic Savio Parish's meal service to Shalom House, visit their website or call the rectory at 314-353-7629.