For the last 35 years, several parishes in Minnesota’s Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have collected clothes and gifts for the poverty-stricken people of Appalachia in rural Kentucky just before Christmas. These contributions are then transported to Appalachia by truck.
The program, which is run by the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, used Bob and Elaine Eberhard’s small farm as one of its “launching points” for many years. Initially Elaine, 79, wondered why the impoverished people in Appalachia didn’t just grow their own crops for food. When she and her husband delivered the donations personally, she realized the reason—rocky Appalachian mountain soil is not conducive to agriculture.
At times, Elaine Eberhard wondered if what she and these parishes were doing was futile, if the plight of Appalachian poverty could ever be fully eradicated. But the priest in charge reassured her, “Nothing is ever hopeless. Keep on trying. You plant the seed and someday they will bloom.”
Never tire of sowing seeds of love and kindness.
Clothe yourselves with compassion. (Colossians 3:12)
Infant Jesus, open our hearts to the needs of others.