‘Awesome’ response to Lenten lunch boxes brings in $4,672 for Sophia’s Kitchen

More than 750 Sophia's Lenten Lunch Boxes were taken by Peoria-area Catholics and used to collect spare change and other sacrificial giving for Sophia's Kitchen.

Lenten sacrifices continue to bring Easter joy at Sophia’s Kitchen in Peoria.

Before Lent began, people in the Heart of Peoria Catholic Community were invited to help feed the hungry at Sophia’s Kitchen by placing spare change or the price of a cup of gourmet coffee or nice meal into little catering boxes that were dubbed Sophia’s Lenten Lunch Boxes. More than 750 people in the Peoria area accepted the challenge and in the weeks since Easter they have been returning the containers to Sacred Heart Church In Peoria.

As of May 15, that spare change added up to $4,672 for Sophia’s Kitchen.

“The Lenten Lunch Boxes were awesome,” said Claire Crone, director of Sophia’s Kitchen. “It was very successful.”

“It’s a beautiful affirmation of the people’s love for the poor in our own community,” according to Msgr. Stanley Deptula, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Joseph, where Sophia’s Kitchen is located. He is also pastor at St. Bernard and rector at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“We always need to be mindful of the missions, especially the foreign missions, but I think what really touched hearts and why this was so successful this year was that people can see the good that their generosity will do right here in our town,” he said. “Every nickel, every gift given to Sophia’s Kitchen directly serves our own community.”

Crone said that on an average day, Sophia’s Kitchen distributes lunches to as many as 300 or 400 people. That number will climb to as many as 600 when school is out and struggling families are trying to feed their children.

Money donated through Sophia’s Lenten Lunch Boxes will help to buy the paper products — cups, plates, bags, napkins and paper towels — needed to wrap sandwiches, give hot and cold drinks and soup, and provide salad as often as possible to those who come to the window at 103 Richard Pryor Place.

“It’s a blessing to be able to hand a sack to people and have them be able to take it where they need, but it incurs a bit more expense for us,” Crone told The Catholic Post.

“It was an experiment this year, something a little different,” Msgr. Deptula said of the lunch boxes, which were donated by Catering Peoria. “It’s really beautiful how people responded.”

After two years of working with Sophia’s Kitchen, he said he has come to realize that God always provides.

“We do our part. We try to cooperate with God, but God has always provided abundantly for this ministry,” he said. “I think Sophia’s Lenten Lunch Boxes will become part of the Lenten devotion for our Heart of Peoria Catholic Community going forward.”

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