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February 27, 2015

Pope Francis has said… Since the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis has spoken extensively on the rights of the poor and has stressed that faithful must help those on the margins. Pope Francis practices what he preaches: When a local Sri Lankan church donated more than Rs. 8.7 million to the Charity Fund of the Pontiff; the Holy Father refused the check, requesting that local churches use it to help the poor. Sri Lanka’s bishops have decided to distribute the money among the dioceses to help the poor.

Catholic Social Teaching Principle – Preferential Option for the Poor: Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all.

ACTION: Reflect on How YOUR “Almsgiving” is truly helping the poor?

In Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father urged for all faithful to have a spirit of “generous openness,” and to care for the weakest members of society. During Lent, try taking Almsgiving to a new level of ACTION. Reach out to those on the margins, whom you do not ordinarily see, and figure out a way to Act with Compassion to show God’s love to them! There are so many organizations that you can give to that help the marginalized in our local community and beyond: Loaves & Fishes, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative (FMF), VEAP, Bridging, Second Harvest Food Bank, or Feed My Starving Children, … and many more. Consider VEAP’s March FoodShare Month Collection!

Donate FOOD &/or $$ to our food drive during March – Our Goal = 1500 lbs.
The Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign raises more than half the food distributed annually at 300 food shelves statewide. At the beginning of every year, as the giving spirit of the holidays wanes, food shelves across Minnesota begin to struggle to get enough food donated to serve the people in need in their communities. Our goal is to raise 115,000 pounds or dollars throughout the month of March. Help us achieve this goal and keep our shelves stocked.

A helpful flyer to take shopping with you or envelopes for your convenience can be found on the poster in the foyer or on the VEAP food bins.

“Veggies-4-VEAP” Giving Garden is in the “Seeds of Planning” stage! We will meet Monday, March 9 at 7:00 pm to discuss the plan for this year’s garden for VEAP’s Food Shelf. Any new people interested in being part of this Team for coordinating our garden, please join us!

November 16, 2014

Dear Fellow Parishioners:

Autumn greetings! I know it seems like winter, yet let’s not give in to the cold. There still is time to en- joy a beautiful fall season. As we approach Thanksgiving, I thought you might appreciate the following thank you letter from VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People) our local social service agency.

Keep the faith, Fr. Brian
P.S., Just a reminder, next week (November 22-23) there will be a second collection to support the

Catholic Campaign for Human Development. More info will be in next week’s bulletin. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear Father Fier:

Thank you for your donation of 1,226 pounds of food plus school supplies to VEAP’s Back to School Program. Your support makes it possible for individuals and families in our community to put food on the table and get connected to other services that contribute to their long-term stability.

It was a busy end to summer as VEAP provided 3,175 children with new backpacks filled with 70,000 school supplies! Families were extremely grateful as the kids with smiling faces walked out proudly with their new backpacks on their backs. Back to School was a success thanks to everyone’s support and involvement.

VEAP operates the largest food pantry in the state and thanks to the expanded space in our new home at 9600 Aldrich, we are able to receive and process more fresh produce than ever before. In fact, most families exiting VEAP’s food pantry doors are now taking home an average of 30 pounds of food, 50% of that being fresh produce. In VEAP’s old space, the average take home amount was 25 pounds. This is good news when you consider that 43% of the individuals we serve are children who need fruits and vegetables to develop their minds and bodies in a healthy way. It is good news for adults too, because eating healthy foods help prevent chronic health problems like obesity, diabetes and high blood pres- sure.

Thank you again for supporting your neighbors in need. Together we are making a difference in the lives of neighbors in our community.

Sincerely,
Patty Schulz Advancement Director

P.S. Save the date! Join us for VEAP’s 15th Annual Gala on November 14 at the Hilton Double Tree in Bloomington. For more information visit annualgala.veap.org. OR you can also get involved by donating to the VEAP Toy drive now thru December 14.

August 24, 2014

One of the fine traditions here at St. Edwards is our support of many charitable social service agencies within the local and broader community. Periodically, we receive letters from these organizations thanking us for our support and updating us on their good work.

Below is a recent letter I received from VEAP (Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People) a non-profit human service organization with the mission of “Neighbors serving neighbors in need.” Enjoy and be proud!

Summer blessings, Fr. Brian


Dear Father Fier:

Thank you for St. Edward’s Parish Pastoral Council and the Parish Tithing Committee’s grant of $4,000.00 to VEAP for general operating support and $3,000.00 to VEAP’s Summer Youth Food Program. Your generous contribution will be put to work right away to support individuals and families in our community during times of financial crisis to help them re-gain stability. 

VEAP’s Summer Youth Food program is underway now that school is out. During the school year, free and reduced- price breakfast and lunch meals are provided to students; but, during the summer, it can be a financial hardship for low-income families to provide two additional meals for each child every day. 

St. Edward’s continued support of the Summer Youth Food Program is critical to the success in our ability to serve low-income families with children. VEAP’s new building has made it possible to expand our distribution hours from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and until 7:00 pm on Thursdays on a biweekly basis. VEAP is currently registering 800 children to receive breakfast and lunch groceries during distribution weeks. This summer, food for 78,000 meals will be distributed — a 23% increase from 2013. Thank you again for supporting your neighbors in need. Together we are making a difference in the lives of neighbors in our community.

Sincerely,

Susan Russell Freeman
Executive Director

Originally posted October 27, 2013

“RE-ENGAGE!” is the rallying cry of this year’s stewardship campaign.

I hope that everyone has received their stewardship packet by now (they were available in the church foyer these past two weekends and any not picked up were mailed out); or, stewardshipmore importantly, I pray that every parish family is taking time to seriously reflect on how they will share their time, talent and treasure here at St. Edwards. Yes, there is a great deal happening within our parish — for example, this weekend’s grand re-opening of the newly remodeled youth room — however, know that it cannot help without the support of everyone. Please take time to discern how you and your family will support our parish. We need you!

As a reminder of the good work that is made possible through your support, below is a thank you letter I recently received from VEAP our local social service agency.

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Dear Father Fier:

Thank you so much for the recent gifts from the Church of St. Edward. Your congregation’s gifts of $4,000 to support our annual operating and $10,000 for the Our Next Chapter capacity campaign are much appreciated and will help VEAP in its ongoing efforts to serve this community and families in need.

A lot is happening at 9600 Aldrich and construction crews are busy every day. The transformation is dramatic and each time I go over to the site, I marvel at how much it changes from day to day. The façade is taking shape and the interior walls are framed in. It’s very exciting to see the vision become a reality.

As you know, program expansion is a key piece of the campaign and much discussion and planning has centered on the teaching kitchen and nutritional programming. VEAP is very fortunate to be working in partnership with nutrition experts from the University of Minnesota Extension, General Mills and Betty Crocker. We anticipate that incorporating this educational and practical element into our food program will provide a great service to our neighbors in need.

On behalf of all the families and individuals VEAP serves, thank you again for your continued partnership and support of the Our Next Chapter campaign. Together we are making a difference in the lives of neighbors in our community.

Sincerely, Susan Russell Freeman, Executive Director

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Thank you everyone for the great work we are doing here at St. Edwards. Together we are building the kingdom. Keep the faith!

Autumn blessings, Fr. Brian