April 29, 2016, Flint, Michigan – A Goodwill van that left Adrian, Michigan for Flint on April 22 carried with it much more than generous supplies of tuna, salmon, diapers, and baby wipes. The van carried with it the heart-felt desires of members of the Adrian community to make a difference in the lives of people who still hurting from the disastrous contamination of lead in their water.
The collection brought in 577 cans of tuna, 179 cans of salmon, 82 packages of diapers, 19 cases of diapers, and 217 packages of baby wipes.
Sister Carleen Maly, OP, Director of Adrian Rea Literacy Center on the Motherhouse Campus, spearheaded the collection among the Sisters and those involved in the literacy center. Also participating in the collection were members of St. John Lutheran Church in Adrian, whose pastor, Joel Sarrault, is a former board member of Adrian Rea; parishioners of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Adrian, at the request of Associate Katie Love, of the Congregation’s Spiritual Life Office; and Goodwill Industries in Adrian. Dan Buron, executive director of Goodwill, drove the van. Members of the Adrian Rea staff also traveled to Flint to make the donation.
“We have felt so helpless,” Sister Carleen explained. “We didn’t know what to do to help.”
But instructions on how to help came through a letter by Sister Carol Weber, OP, co-founder and co-director of St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center in Flint to Sister Carol Jean Kesterke, OP, her Chapter Prioress, and to members of the Chapter’s Mission Council.
N.E.W. (North End Women) Life was established in 2002 to “support at-risk families in the North End of Flint,” Sister Carol explained. Services have included nutrition education, life skills classes, employment skills training, a sewing co-op that has enabled the women of Flint to earn a decent living through their sewing skills, and, in 2008, a literacy center.
“In response to the water crisis in Flint, the center has become a distribution center for bottled water,” Sister Carol wrote. She has also requested donations of tuna, salmon, juice, milk, diapers, and baby wipes. N.E.W. Life has begun offering a nutrition and support group for pregnant women and the mothers of small children, teaching them how to serve nutritious meals to counteract the effects of the lead in their children.
“We are focused on being proactive in combatting the fallout from this human disaster,” Sister Carol wrote. And so many people, touched by the situation, are willing to stand with their sisters and brothers in Flint.
Adrian Rea and N.E.W. Life Literacy Center are two of seven literacy centers sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, under the umbrella of the Dominican Rea Literacy Corporation. Other sponsored literacy centers are Aquinas, Chicago; DePorres Place, West Palm Beach, Florida; and Dominican, Siena, and All Saints, all in Detroit.
Feature photo: Pictured in Adrian with the donations for N.E.W. Life Center are staff members of Adrian Rea Literacy Center, from left: Sister Joan Mary, Brenda Sparkman, Sister Sarah Cavanaugh, Sister Joanne McCauley, Sister Carleen Maly, and Sister Kathleen Clausen.