We are joining Team Our Lady of the Angels to run in the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon to support Mission of Our Lady of the Angels!
I (Leah) discovered the Mission after suddenly losing my job in 2018, when Sister Jaime asked if I'd like to volunteer at the Tuesday weekly food pantry at the Mission. I spent every Tuesday for the next 4.5 months working with the Sisters, Brother, and Bishop Bob to provide food for the people in the neighborhood. I (Luke) learned about the Mission and the Franciscans of the Eucharist from Leah, and spent time volunteering there during the pandemic. We were both inspired by Sister Stephanie, who ran a treadmill marathon last year (in a world record, no less!), and we signed up to run the marathon with the OLA team. Check out her treadmill marathon at this link.
For those of you that are not familiar, the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels exists to provide material and spiritual support to W. Humboldt Park, Chicago - one of the most challenged neighborhoods in the U.S. The Franciscans live in the neighborhood, and the Mission feeds about 3,000 families a month. Because of COVID-19, this is three times the number of people normally served. Additionally, during non-COVID times, the Mission assists at-risk kids in after-school programs, and serves bi-monthly community meals. Most importantly, the Mission works to bring the hope of Christ to a neighborhood plagued by gangs, violence, and poverty. The Mission also provides additional material and pastoral support to families, youth, and senior citizens, and brings the love of Christ to a neighborhood desperately in need of hope. OLA is able to provide all of its services to its neighbors for free because of many generous donations from people like you.
You can find more info about the Mission at www.missionola.com.
The financial need is particularly great this year as the Mission continues their expanded COVID time outreach AND finishes the renovations of their new outreach center. The Mission is in process of renovating their new outreach center that will dramatically improve their ability to distribute material resources, host neighborhood groups for meetings, and house the volunteers they rely upon for their work.
We started this journey with a couch to 10K, and are committed to putting in the hours to prepare for the marathon on October 10, 2021, even on days when it is not fun. And Leah is really going to retire after this one :)
We cannot say enough good things about what the Franciscans are doing at the Mission. And we'd love if you would consider joining one of the food pantries or signing up to volunteer at the annual Christmas Party for the neighborhood. The Mission is in need of volunteers as much as monetary support.
Thanks for your prayers, support, and donations, and we'll see you at the finish line!
Leah and Luke