Sr. Lisa Bergeron’s Ministry: Feeding the Hungry During COVID-19
Our Ursuline Sister, Lisa Bergeron, OSU is serving on the front lines of the pandemic feeding the hungry, as Director of Parish Social Ministry at St. John Nepomucene Church in Bohemia, NY. The pantry has continued to provide no-contact food pickup and food deliveries to families throughout the Bohemia, Oakdale, and West Sayville communities, thanks to the extraordinary generosity and support of parishioners, the parish’s priests, deacons, and particularly the Pastor, Father Joe Schlafer, and Sr. Lisa’s dedicated team of parish volunteers.
The pantry is also providing food to families in the regional area whose Food Pantries are now closed, including the communities of Ronkonkoma (St. Joseph), Holbrook (Good Shepherd), and Central Islip (St. John of God). Families living in such areas are welcome to come twice a month for Supplemental Food until the pantries serving their communities are re-opened. St. John Nepomucene food pantry typically serves approximately 110-150 families per month, depending on the time of year. Yet, last week alone, the pantry provided three meals a day to 50 families, and 36 of those families received no-contact delivery of their meals by volunteers. “We’re really blessed to have all of our volunteers,” said Sr. Lisa. “Their generosity, and their kindness has just been exceptional.” She added, “How blessed we all are, that we can participate, each in our own way, in this essential work. I can only do this work, because there are so many people who have responded to God’s prompting, and make themselves present, and say, ‘I want to be a part of that. What can I do to help?’”
The number of families in need is rising, as this week the pantry provided meals to close to 70 families. Sr. Lisa noted that the generosity and kindness of parishioners has been wonderful throughout the pandemic, with many people bringing in groceries and gift cards, baking, making sandwiches, and making masks for those in need. Sr. Lisa added, “It isn’t just the food that we provide them; it’s the hope, and the love.”
She added, “I think it’s very important, because this is a dark time in our country and in our world. And part of the hope that comes, is from seeing people respond with compassion and generosity.”
Sr. Lisa and her volunteers adhere to public safety protocol including wearing masks, handwashing, and physical distancing during pickups and deliveries.
“When we feed others, it’s one of the most basic human experiences, and yet it can also be the most transcendent human experience, because it allows us to be an instrument of God’s grace,” said Sr. Lisa.
“To be a channel of God’s mercy, is a powerfully transformative experience. And if we allow ourselves to be used by God, then we will be changed, and we will change the world, one person, one meal, one can of soup at a time. Every one of us can make a difference, and build the reign of God’s love, which is marked by peace, and justice, and compassion and mercy.”
Sr. Lisa is shown in the featured photo with Volunteer Kaitlyn Heal. Volunteers shown in the photo below are Kaitlyn Heal, and Liz and Brian Campbell.