Home » Features » Sharing with grateful hearts

Sharing with grateful hearts

Posted on June 24, 2024, by Loretto Community

By Barbara Hagan CoL, Chair, Loretto Hunger Fund

A slightly blurred photo of several residents at an LGBTQ+ shelter in Mexico eating lunch.
Lunchtime at Casa Arcoíris, a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, offers the opportunity to slow down and relax in spite of life’s difficulties.
Photo courtesy of Casa Arcoíris

Loretto’s Hunger Fund has helped feed the hungry for 50 years. The Stop Hunger Fund, as it was initially called, was established in 1974 in response to worldwide hunger, especially in India, where drought had led to famine and starvation. Loretto Community members were indefatigable in raising money. They babysat, collected aluminum cans, sold paintings and more. Loretto schools collected donations and held bake sales and raffles. (Today, students at St. Mary’s Academy in Denver raise money for the Hunger Fund.) The effort does not let up, offering assistance to groups that provide groceries, stock pantries, serve meals or otherwise feed the hungry. In recent years, donations have helped feed people in the U.S., Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan and Uganda, among other locations.

Three older women are pictured standing and talking as they volunteer with a food pantry in new Mexico.
From left, Allison Lemons CoL, Karen Knoll CoL and Sharon Palma CoL volunteer at Jemez Helping Hands, a food pantry for elders at the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico in 2023. Karen manages the pantry.
Photo: Mary Ann McGivern SL

The Loretto Hunger Fund grants funding to various groups that reach into the community to feed those who are less fortunate. These agencies serve those who are homeless, low-income people, immigrants, soup kitchens and others. So many people do amazing work to help those in need of food.

Photo of the back of two women's heads are shown getting something to eat at a LGBTQ+ shelter in Tijuana, Mexico.
Espacio Migrante, a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, received a donation from Loretto’s Hunger Fund; the organization feeds shelter guests as well as those on the street hoping to receive asylum.
Photo courtesy of Espacio Migrante

At the 1974 Loretto Assembly a proposal was passed and a goal established to raise $180,000 to start the Stop Hunger Fund. Helen Sanders SL, president of Loretto at the time, wrote, “Through much discussion and prayer and in response to many pleas for a simpler lifestyle and a willingness to sacrifice and share, the assembly voted to propose to the entire Loretto Community an ongoing program with a goal of supplying a sum of $180,000 to help alleviate conditions in underdeveloped countries which are causing starvation to millions of human beings” (Interchange, Sept. 1974). Francis Jane O’Toole SL of Louisville, Ky., took on this challenge by committing to raise $90,000 to match the $90,000 given from the general fund of the Sisters of Loretto.

Each issue of Interchange (the Loretto Community newsletter) would give an update on the amount raised that month. By December 1975, $60,000 of the $90,000 had been raised. Money was brought in through personal donations, bake sales, raffles, school mission days, etc. Cecily Jones SL helped to raise awareness at St. Pius School in St. Louis with the help of Eileen Kersgieter SL during the school’s mission day to raise $1,500. Susan Swain SL raised funds at the Lower School of Loretto in Kansas City using UNICEF boxes (UNICEF gave approval for the money to go to the Stop Hunger Fund). Individual sisters were asked to make donations from their personal budgets.

By 1976 the goal of $90,000 was achieved! Loretto provided $180,000 to address hunger, an enormous sum at the time.

The name was eventually changed to the Hunger Fund, and Cecily was one of its leading members. The Hunger Fund meets annually to disperse available funds.

As we continue this important mission into the future, please remember the Hunger Fund with your kindness by making a donation to this great cause. It is a wonderful way to share our blessings.

Community members made and still make sacrifices for the Hunger Fund. We try to give more than the scraps from our table. This is a great and lasting grace that we received almost 50 years ago.

Mary Ann McGivern SL

Hunger in the U.S.

A student is pictured handing a box of food to a Meals on Wheels recipient.
A student from Florida Southern College volunteers to deliver food for Meals on Wheels of Polk County, Florida, one of the organizations Loretto has helped with funds.
Photo: Meals on Wheels of Polk County

In 2022, 44.2 million people lived in households that struggled to provide adequate food for their members (a significant increase from 33.8 million in 2021). Those households included more than 13 million children, an increase of about 45 percent from 2021.

During the same year, an average food-insecure household spent 15% less on food than the typical foodsecure household of the same size and composition.

– Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oct. 2023, “Food Security in the United States in 2022.”

Bread for Life Community Food Pantry, located near the Loretto Motherhouse in Bardstown, Ky., works with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Joseph Parish and other ministry programs to house the homeless and feed the hungry, serving hundreds of families each month.

Bread for Life has purchased and refurbished a food truck to make its pantry mobile; it features appliances that can be used as refrigerators or freezers, depending on need.

The Loretto Hunger Fund has gratefully supported this ministry.

Two men shake hands in front of a newly refurbished food truck.
Scott Hourigan, left, mobile pantry driver, greets Sandy Camargo, manager of the organization. In the background, the Rev. Jacob Zulu, associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Bardstown, Ky., chats with LaFern James, volunteer, next to the newly-refurbished food truck.
Photo: Bread for Life
A picture of the inside of a mobile food pantry inside a bus that shows several fridges and supplies in two rows with an aisle for walking in between.
Bread for Life Community Food Pantry now makes use of a mobile pantry, enabling the organization to deliver food to surrounding communities.
Photo: Bread for Life

The Hunger Fund’s aim is to fulfill the Laudato Si’ goal of promoting eco-justice by a response to the cry of the poor, and to fulfill our mission #33 from I Am the Way (Loretto’s Constitutions): ‘We commit ourselves to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression and deprivation of dignity.’

Pat Frueh SL
An executive director, with medium length brown hair in a blazer, of the Meals on Wheels program in Polk County Florida is pictured with a 107-year-old woman who is wearing glasses and a vertical striped pink and white shirt.
Susan Eldridge, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Polk County, Florida, visits Lenore who just turned 107.
Photo: Meals on Wheels of Polk County
A group photo of Loretto members and staff at the SouthWest Improvement Council in Denver smile as they hold up thanksgiving decorations.
Loretto members participate in a drive each year to help the Southwest Improvement Council in Denver, an organization working to improve quality of life for Southwest Denver residents. The Loretto Hunger Fund has also contributed to this equity driven organization.
Staff photo

To read all the articles in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of Loretto Magazine, click here.


Loretto Community

We are Sisters and Co-members who strive to bring the healing spirit of God into our world.
Cupola Cross 2-Icon

Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cupola Cross 2-Icon

Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!