Our friends at St. Luke’s/San Lucas in Chelsea have been navigating a very challenging road during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, two members of the parish contracted the virus and Father Edgar was tested, and was negative. While the parishioners are recovering, the infections required the church be professionally sanitized then quarantined for two weeks. Since then, no other infections have occurred.
Although Chelsea has been especially hard-hit with the virus, St. Luke’s continues to be a source of service to its community through its Food Pantry and the “Meals for Chelsea” Bella Isla partnership.
Food Pantry Needs Support
Several St. Paul’s volunteers are familiar with the Community Dining Room at St. Luke’s. Unfortunately, the Dining Room was forced to shut down when COVID-19 became a threat. Even the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner served at St. Luke’s had to be cancelled. In lieu of feeding people at the Dining Room, St. Luke’s has been running a food pantry to help meet the needs of those with food insecurity in their neighborhood. Hundreds of meals are provided each week!
Food comes from BJ’s, The Greater Boston Food Bank, and private donors. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) comes from the pantry’s funds. Pet food is donated by the SPCA, but there is a need for bird seed. The pantry would greatly appreciate donations of money, gift cards, and personal items. These donations can be made via the GoFundMe site (see below) or by check to the Vicar's Discretionary Fund (in the memo line put either Funeral Fund, Bella Isla (see below), or Bird Seed in the memo line). People can also donate Market Basket or Stop & Shop gift cards. Mail checks or cards to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 201 Washington Ave., Chelsea, MA 02150
Bella Isla “Meals for Chelsea” Also Needs Help
In May, the “Meals for Chelsea” partnership was born when 100 people in line for groceries at the St. Luke’s Food Pantry were given a $6 certificate to be redeemed at the Bella Isla Express Cafe, just a few doors down from St. Luke’s. The certificate allows the recipient to order a $6 meal or they can put the $6 toward a more expensive meal and pay the difference. The number of certificates is now up to 150 a month and the certificate redemption rate hovers in the 95-100% range for most weeks!
Bella Isla Express is a Puerto Rican, woman-owned, small business, purchased in November 2019 just before COVID- 19 arrived. This partnership has helped the owner retain her staff of six and to remain open during this time of economic uncertainty. She is delighted to not only have the work, but to also support those in her community who are facing challenges at this time.
Funding for this partnership comes primarily from donors who have long supported the feeding programs at St. Luke’s. The partnership is committed to continue through the end of the year when it will be reassessed. However, resources are running low, and the donor base needs to expand to continue for the long haul. Please visit this GoFundMe page to donate to the partnership to help address food insecurity and help a small business stay open. It's a win-win-win for all of us!
In addition to the above-mentioned ways to support the ministries at St. Luke's, the parish has just posted an online giving link on its website to make giving easier.
If you have any question about supporting St. Luke's/San Lucas, contact Jim Rosato.