by Amos Smith
Church of the Painted Hills, UCC (CPH) has had a long term mission focus on Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, which is a Catholic Worker House inspired by Dorothy Day. Casa Maria focuses on feeding Tucson’s homeless population.
On October 30th, 2014 CPH invited the Casa Maria Kitchen workers to CPH for a dinner that we provided. The dinner gave us a more intimate look into the faces behind Casa Maria.
Each of the workers talked about what brought them to Casa Maria. We heard stories of terrible circumstances, such as Mexican border crossings in bloody shoes, abandonment, and finding food in dumpsters. Then, the workers shared how Casa Maria got them back on their feet, and how their works of mercy filled their hearts with joy.
Through the years, CPH has made sandwiches for Casa Maria on the third Tuesday of each month (many thanks to Nancy Ullrich’s leadership). Last Christmas the church also rallied and bought items Casa Maria needed: a huge new soup pot, two ladles, and a large capacity coffee maker.
Through the years, many people at CPH have volunteered at Casa Maria—hauling in deliveries of produce, making and serving soup, making sacked lunches… To continue that tradition I called Brian Flag at Casa Maria and asked him when volunteers would be most appreciated. He said that they tend to be short-handed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
So, some interested folks and I zeroed in on Fridays. At present, Mary (pictured above), Amos, and Connie are volunteering on the first and third Fridays of each month. And Denise and Karen are volunteering on the second and fourth Fridays of each month. So at present CPH has Fridays covered at Casa Maria!
On average Casa Maria feeds 500 homeless per day and delivers 2,000 family grocery bags per week!