Easter egg coloring project brought back to help Sophia’s Kitchen, guests

Coloring an Easter egg and writing a note of encouragement, would brighten the lives of those who receive meals at Sophia's Kitchen. Adding a donation and sending it to Sophia's Kitchen, c/o Sacred Heart Church, 504 Fulton St., Peoria, IL 61602, along with the artwork and Easter greeting would help to keep the meals coming. (Provided graphic)

Brightly colored Easter eggs can lift spirits, even when they’re made of paper. Add a note of encouragement and it can make someone’s day. Volunteers at Sophia’s Kitchen in Peoria have seen that firsthand.

That’s why the Easter project and fundraiser are back for a second round of cheer.

“It was very successful last year. Everybody really enjoyed it,” said Claire Crone, program director at Sophia’s Kitchen, a mission of St. Joseph Church in downtown Peoria.

“It was something they could bring the children into doing. Parents were able to print copies of it (see the graphic on this page) and give it to the littles and the kids just loved coloring them,” she told The Catholic Post.

Crone added that the guests who receive the colored eggs and notes love getting them.

To participate, color or decorate the blank Easter egg and include a message of encouragement. They may be sent, along with a donation, to Sophia’s Kitchen, c/o Sacred Heart Church, 504 Fulton St., Peoria, IL 61602.

Crone said it would be helpful to have them before Easter.

“We run on the Catholic calendar and not the secular calendar, so we’ll start putting these in lunch bags the week after Easter, during the actual Easter Season,” she explained.

A MATCHING CHALLENGE

The funds raised with the Easter eggs helps to keep those meals coming for as many as 300 people every day, Crone said. While the dining room remains closed to keep everyone safe from COVID-19 a bit longer, volunteers continue to prepare fresh food for their guests.

Sophia’s Kitchen is located in the parish hall of St. Joseph Church, 103 S. Richard Pryor Place, and in recent days the building was closed completely so repairs could be made to the aging structure. That included replacing duct work, mitigating mold that was in the system, improving airflow with ceiling fans, and upgrading the fire suppression system that goes across the stove.

“When you think about how many people are in the building every day, it’s a tremendous amount of wear we put on a building like this,” Crone said, noting that it is about 50 years old. “Not only do we have guests coming in . . . but we also have volunteers. So add another 50-plus volunteers and then delivery people in and out.”

She knows other issues will need to be addressed in the future.

To help them replace the duct work and upgrade the ventilation system, a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to match $25,000 in donations made to Sophia’s Kitchen through April 15.

“That would really put us over the top and allow us to complete the needed repairs,” Crone said.

To have your gift matched, write MATCH on the memo line of your check.

ADDED JOY

In addition to the Easter eggs, messages of support, and generosity of the community, joy has come in another form.

Sophia’s Kitchen has been selected as the winner of the Innovative Food Programming Award. Crone said it is for the work they did during the pandemic to see that those most affected by the crisis still had food.

Sister Merlinda Marco, FAS, assistant kitchen manager, and Courtney Curtis, assistant manager, accepted the award at the Hunger and Health Illinois Regional Conference in Oglesby on March 9.

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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