Unity in the Community
We are better together! That’s the adage Mary Thomas uses when describing her most recent initiative at the Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse. In anticipation of Black History Month in February, the Mother Margaret Hall wellness screener/receptionist had the idea of bringing Sisters and employees together in a positive way. Her answer – a community food drive! Mary’s hope was for the month-long food collection, dubbed Unity in the Community, to benefit local food pantries with a Sisters of Charity presence.
When the collection started off slow, Mary used her creativity and generous heart to up the excitement and interest. The initiative was taking place right as the Cincinnati Bengals were headed to the Super Bowl. The City of Cincinnati was filled with pride for their hometown team. Mary thought a basket raffle might be just what was needed to draw more attention to the collection. She spent an entire day driving all over the city buying Bengals accessories and items. What started off as a basket raffle became so much more as Mary was able to collect enough items to fill an entire table. Even more impressive: all items collected for the Bengals raffle table were generously donated by Mary herself.
“It brought people together,” said Mary. “It feels good to see people that are like-minded coming together. We are like a family – that’s what pulls us together.”
The raffle and food drive exceeded her expectations. Sisters and employees participated throughout the month, donating more than 1,000 items to either Community Matters Food Pantry or Holy Family Food Pantry where Sisters Mary Ann Humbert and Peggy Rein are current volunteers. With the proceeds from the raffle, she was able to purchase additional items to donate; items she knew would be appreciated by pantry guests. And in true Mary fashion, she was thoughtful in where to purchase those items from, supporting small local businesses in the city as opposed to larger chains.
While Mary is thankful to the Sisters and employees participating in the February collection and raffle, the SC Community is most grateful for her leadership and kind heart. She has been an employee of the Sisters of Charity since 2000, previously working as a nurse aide before her current position change. She most enjoys the sense of community and camaraderie that she’s found; a spirit most certainly displayed this past February!