Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Jose Lazaro, Director of development & Marketing for Catholic Comuunity Services speaks during the press conference. Community Advocate Pamela Atkinson and Catholic Community Services of Utah are host a press conference Monday, Sept. 26, 2011 to alert the media about the community effort to continue the evening meal service at St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall for the homeless and hungry in our community.
Too often our editorials lament some problem that could have been avoided. Today we celebrate the resolution of a major community concern before it became a crisis.
Faced with a mounting financial shortfall, the local Salvation Army was compelled to discontinue an evening dinner for the homeless in the St. Vincent de Paul dining hall in downtown Salt Lake City.
This simple but nutritious supper has helped hundreds of people every day to stave off hunger and cope with the unwanted challenges of poverty.
Had the full program lapsed, hundreds of suffering individuals would have been even worse off.
But before the program could end, the extraordinary network of care that undergirds this community quietly came together to solve the problem.
Not only has this network preserved the evening suppers, but, by broadening the base of support, it has strengthened the program, putting it onto a sounder footing for years to come.
Well over a dozen congregations, schools and organizations will now unitedly provide food and service to the homeless of Salt Lake.
Catholic Community Services has taken on the role of organizer. They are coordinating help from Catholics, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Mormons, Presbyterians and many others.
But in this effort to care for the poor, the denominational labels mean nothing. The only two labels that count are neighbor and disciple as people from across the valley fulfill the practical teaching of Jesus Christ:
"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in."