Connie has truly made our world a better place and touched the lives of so many, began when she was asked to help with the soup kitchen at OLC and Notre Dame. From there, came a request from Fr. Leon Maynard, who was at Notre Dame at the time, for the banding together with the Blackstone Valley Emergency Food Center, where she serves as working-Director.
The Emergency Food Center serves “People with no income or very low income, generally referred by agencies, churches or others in need. Those referred must show a photo ID, current rent receipt, income verification and ID for children as well.” The center helps on the average of 400 families a month, ranging from a family size 1 to 12. “We always start the day with a prayer, because we are working for God and include the prayer of Saint Francis, ‘Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace.’”
With deep dedication she relates, “A lot of people who come have tragic stories… if we only know the stories behind the situations we would be thankful for what we have… we often forget to thank God.”
Sadly, she retells of a young expectant mother with a young infant who had left Columbia because guerillas had extorted money form their small business. Her husband had stayed to close up shop, but suddenly suffered a stroke. She now stands all alone in a new country.
Part of Connie’s ministry is not only to give, but to receive as well. She does this by giving of her time as a compassionate listener. Another time, a woman came in with two young children, and when asked if there were other children at home, the woman began to weep…explaining she had 4 sons who had been killed by guerrilla warfare. “We hear of the tragedies of Liberia, Haiti, and all over the world. These are hard working people, who try very hard, but have run into bad luck, and in many cases, tragic situations. It’s also hard for many of them because of the language barrier.”
One of Rhode Islands greatest benefactors is Alan Feinstein, “an extremely generous, modest man who is dedicated to stop hunger in Rhode Island.” The Alan Feinstein Drive awards the Blackstone Valley a percentage of their yearly drive. Connie is also on the Board of Advisors for the Food Banks of West Warwick. “It’s a collaboration of organization, that get together to help the Food Banks organize better service for over 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters that they help.”