St. Patrick’s was a part of creating this inter-faith group in 2012. We have helped develop and establish a group of concerned faith and community organizations into action teams to work with our neighbors to live out our missions of finding dignity, justice, and love.
Through its work on public transportation, child care concerns, job search mentoring, and the newly added Community Gardens project FLIA has reached the point to step forward into official “Membership.” It is associated with Food AND Medicine (FAM) but is now establishing a separate 501(c)3. It is in the final stages of developing Mode of Understanding between the two groups. There is now a FLIA board which meets monthly to coordinate the teams’ work and continue a relationship with Food AND Medicine. Deacon Peggy Day is the Secretary of the board and Mary Ann Perry is the representative from St. Patrick’s and the liaison for FLIA to the FAM board. St. Patrick’s continues to support this work financially and through volunteering. Our commitment in 2017 was .25% of our operating budget. This amount was $167.00 and the Outreach Committee donated $33 to bring our dues to $300. The amount for 2018 will be .5% of our operating budget.
Each Team meets monthly and the entire organization holds quarterly convenings. Those from St. Patrick’s who were actively involved with FLIA in 2017 are: Peg Olson, Rev. Peggy Day, Rev. Rick Cross, Paula Baines, and Mary Ann Perry. Others have been very helpful for specific events.
A huge connection to FLIA and FAM has been through the Solidarity Harvest. St. Patrick’s donated $300 for baskets and several members volunteered for the harvest. Mary Ann Perry was one of the coordinators. 2017 was the 15th year, and with produce grown at more than three dozen farms, it was able to reach more people than ever before! Along with over 40 local unions and partner organizations, they distributed 1,320 Thanksgiving meal baskets – each containing enough food to feed 8-10 people! Over 450 volunteers came together to help sort, weigh and assemble the baskets, and the food went to people facing hard times throughout the entire state.
Solidarity Harvest not only provided food to people in need when there are so many who don’t have enough, but it also strengthened every individual and organization that participated. This year it added cooking classes in December for many recipients and people who participated in the Community Gardens project to can excess produce. It continually seeks additional ways in which to increase this positive impact.
The work done with FLIA connects very well with our Diocesan process: “Living Local: Joining God”.
Mary Ann Perry
St. Patrick’s FLIA coordinator