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Those Sad & Innocent Eyes

CHRIST & NEIGHBOR

By John C. Cort | January-February 1990

The little children are the ones who affect you the most. When they look up at you with those sad and innocent eyes, you wish you could give them, not just a good meal, but a good home, a good education, and a good job at the end of it, all the ingredients of the good life that they are not very likely to enjoy. These are poor black children and they are standing in line at Our Daily Bread, the only exclusively food service that our archdiocese, through Catholic Charities, operates in the Boston area. The Franciscans run a good bread line and there are others under Catholic auspices, but this is the only one the archdio­cese operates.

The bad news is that the budget has been cut almost in half and its paid staff reduced from six to one-and-a-half, and this is simply not enough to run a decent bread line or, more accurately, a decent meat-and-potatoes line.

Started in 1983, Our Daily Bread has operated in the basement of St. John and St. Hugh’s Church in the heart of the black community of Boston. Despite the cut budget, it continues to serve about 250 men, women, and children a nourishing meal at noontime five days a week. As of this writing, it is shut down because of a series of break-ins, and more money must be found to install heavier grilles on the windows.

Volunteers help out to some extent — groups coming in from a few suburban churches — but they can’t make up for the loss of paid help. I have been volunteering there off and on for three years. Sometimes Joe Vaughan, the manager, is so shorthanded that he has to recruit volunteers off the line. This is no way to run a bread line.

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