By Jeff and Julie Albaugh
As part of the North Lawndale Kinship Initiative under the direction of Vincent Guider, Old St. Pat’s provides a meal to anyone in need of food through My Brother’s Kitchen in North Lawndale. It happens at the Young Men’s Education Network (YMEN) Community Center on the 3rd Saturday of each month. We and several others from our church were pleased and blessed by the opportunity to participate in this amazing event.
Patty Brick, an Old St. Pat’s member, did an outstanding job coordinating the event and creating a delicious menu. It was wonderful to meet and spend time with other volunteers from Old St. Pats and we all got right to work on setup, food prep, serving the meal and cleanup around the facility afterward. We were given a brief orientation to the amazing work being done at My Brother’s Kitchen and at the YMEN center. My Brother’s Kitchen was started years ago by two brothers, Frank and Pete Vito, who wanted to feed those who are hungry and less fortunate. It was very apparent from everyone involved in this ministry that it is infused with God’s love and compassion. The goal of kinship is to transform the lives of the people from Old St. Pats and the people from the North Lawndale community by developing relationships with them and with each other. It is not just about serving a meal or performing charitable acts; it is more importantly about relationship. Through each other, we learn more about our faith and we grow in exponential ways.
In our current political culture that promotes division and separateness, the Kinship Initiative reminds us that we are all one body of Christ regardless of any differences in ethnicity, religion, culture or financial background. Regardless of our personal history, we all struggle in our brokenness and desperately need a Savior to show us the path to true love and belonging. We can find that Savior in relationships/kinship with others. Together we are stronger and the body of Christ needs all its parts to function fully. God designed a need in each of us to be hardwired for connectedness and that connectedness can be found in human relationships.
The faith, love and compassion that we witnessed in the Lawndale community was inspiring. We signed up to serve others food, but in the end, we were the ones blessed by interacting and talking to the many people who came to eat, the staff and the other volunteers. We will definitely be back for another serving of kinship.
Jeff & Julie Albaugh are active members of Old St. Pat’s Church