The first stop was a whirlwind. The Mobile Loaves and Fishes catering truck pulled into a parking area at Social Park in Woonsocket and people just streamed forward. Members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Greenwich climbed out of the truck, opened up the sides and back and started handing out sandwiches, drinks, and clothing.
The work was constant for 45 minutes. When it slowed down, there was room for more conversation. Then, it was time to pack up and go to the next stop. Those on the truck have learned, there’s a lot of need in Woonsocket.
The Mobile Loaves truck has been making runs from Barrington and Providence for a few years now. St. Luke’s is the first church in the West Bay to take on the ministry.
Ken MacDonald, who with his wife, Susan, is the heart behind St. Luke’s MLF ministry, said it’s been a great fit for the church.
“A few of us went over to St. John’s in Barrington to see what it was about and decided this had to come to St. Luke’s,” he explained on Saturday while the truck was being packed. “We made our first solo run Nov. 18 of last year. We had [the truck] out at coffee hour, then loaded up the truck and went to Providence. It was a great fit.”
A usual run includes packing the truck with cold and hot sandwiches, fruit, water, snack foods, and Ken’s special – the mocha latte, coffee and hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. The other side of the truck is stocked with clothes – pants, socks, t-shirts, and now that the cold weather is coming again, hooded sweatshirts and jackets, donated by parishioners.
“It’s a warm meal. it’s a warm sandwich for today and some food in a bag for tomorrow,” said MacDonald. “It’s not going to solve the problem of hunger and homelessness but it will make it a little more comfortable for one day. I think that’s what we can do.”
And, he said, “it nourishes our parish … it’s just such a great thing for our parish to be involved in. Whether you dropped off two dozen eggs or gave Saturday to load up the truck and take it to Woonsocket, you were a part of this ministry,” MacDonald said. “Parish-wide, there were at least 50 people involved today.”
St. Luke’s has been going to Woonsocket one Saturday a month. Just last week, it picked up a new run – a Tuesday night trip to Harrington Hall, the large men’s shelter in Cranston. MacDonald hopes other churches in the area might decide to get involved and share that run.“I think if we get the word out about what a wonderful ministry this is, we’ll get one or two other groups to sign up,” he said. “It’s a pretty easy task and a pretty rewarding and wonderful task.”
If you are interested in getting involved in Mobile Loaves & Fishes, you can contact Ken MacDonald at email@example.com, St. Luke's Church at (401) 884-4116.