DETROIT (WWJ) – At St. Dominic Outreach Center in Detroit, the message of Christmas charity is alive and well 365 days a year even though the center doesn’t display a single Christmas decoration.
St. Dominic Catholic Church of Detroit closed years ago, but a small group of people continue the mission of outreach to the community.
The center, housed in a former convent, serves 400 people each month.
Director Sherron Jenkins said no one at the center has the time to put up holiday decorations – there are just too many people to serve.
“These are usually working people,” said John Hannigan a member of the board of directors at St. Dominic. “They just don’t have enough money to make ends meet, so we help out.”
Jenkins once came to the outreach center looking for help. She got it and after finishing college she now runs the center. “In some areas of this city, it’s like a third world nation, that’s how bad the poverty is,” said Jenkins.
The center provides food, bus fare for those who have jobs, and clothing for those in need.
Hannigan notes there are times in July and August when the pantry shelves are nearly bare, but somewhere, somehow, someone always comes through with a donation to help out needy families.
It reminds him of the story of the patron saint of the parish, St. Martin DePoress, one of the Catholic Churches first African Saints. He ran a food pantry in South America and, legend has it, when the pantry was near empty, a miracle would take place and the shelves would be filled.
Although clients are not required to, many return to offer help at the center.
Jenkins said helping gives clients something poverty robs them of: dignity.
For more information on St. Dominic go to: stdominicoutreach.org.