St. Aloysius parish offered assistance during holidays

JACKSON — During the season of giving and receiving, St. Aloysius Parish in Jackson came to the aid of many people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas period with donations totaling more than $140,000.

The season kicked off with the annual Thanksgiving Dinner Drive with 880 dinners collected that fed about 4,000 people, according to a press release.

Church officials said 200 dinners were donated to Jackson families and the remainder were given to area food pantries for distribution to other families in need.

Bags with shopping lists were handed out at Masses starting in early November and on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

The effort is coordinated by John Murphy, who has run the program for many years, and Jim Guldner, who stepped in this year and will take over from Murphy, according to the press release.

About 140 volunteers made up of the youth group and parish families came forward to help with the program.

Sister Eileen Ivory, who is the pastoral care coordinator at St. Aloysius Parish, said, “My heart is always filled with such joy as I see the outpouring of assistance from our parishioners who year after year continue to astound with their generosity.”

During the Christmas period, the Adopt a Family program got into full swing. The parish office became a hive of activity as the parish staff and the Rev. John Bambrick got into the spirit of Christmas as parishioners adopted families in need and helped to provide Christmas for these families.

At the end of the effort, 244 Jackson families received Christmas presents from 350 generous parishioners, according to the press release.

Art Kliemisch, president of the St. Vincent de Paul association at St. Aloysius Parish — whose clients are generally the recipients of these gifts — said he continues to be astounded at the generosity and kindness of the parishioners.

“Year after year, they come to the aid of these families in need and go above and beyond what is asked of them. This truly is a parish where stewardship and paying it forward is so evident,” he said.

In addition, the annual Giving Tree to benefit Providence House and Monmouth Medial Center Southern Campus, Lakewood — formerly Kimball Medical Center — was a success, with more than 500 gifts collected for local children, according to the press release.