My mom was a member of the Altar Guild at St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia, NC. As a young girl I would join her on Saturday mornings to help clean the sanctuary. My job was to scrape out the residual wax from the bottom of the candle holders and place a new candle into the glass. Surrounded by the smells of incense and soap, I felt fulfilled by being able to help.
I believe that God bestows upon every person assets of some kind. No one is created without gifts to share – no matter how old or young. As an employee of CWS for nearly a decade, my job has been to help compassionate citizens of all ages to identify what skills they can offer towards our shared ministry to end hunger and poverty. Now, as a mother, I feel equally called to plant seeds of service in my children so that they bear the fruit of justice and kindness.
On a recent trip to the grocery store, my eight-year-old son saw a product with a footprint logo. He said, “Look mom, CROP Hunger Walk!” I felt pride and joy with this indication that my husband and I were being successful at weaving compassionate action into the fabric of our life and in making ours a “CWS family.” My two children know and love the CROP Hunger Walk and they believe, even at their young ages, they have a role to play in ending hunger.
My work has taken my family to more CROP Hunger Walks than I can count. At four years old, my daughter swelled with pride when she used her skills to help pull apart bananas for the returning walkers in Forsyth County, NC. In Burlington, NC, my children joyfully served as Honorary Marshals for the one mile mini-walk! Together, they host an annual toy sale to raise funds for the Raleigh, NC, Walk. Not only do they sell their own toys, but they encourage neighborhood children to donate their used toys to the cause as well. My son displays his golden sneaker award on his bookshelf – a trophy he received for being the top online fundraiser for the Raleigh walk. With our help, he raised over $2,000 in 2012.
As a working mom, I often lament that I don’t have time to clean the house or make fancy dinners. I complain that our laundry overwhelms the baskets waiting for me to finish work. At the end of the day, none of this matters when my son prays for earthquake survivors in Japan and hurricane survivors in New York and my daughter asks God to help her feed the hungry and to “bless the poor people.” On Mother’s Day, I will give myself a gold star for continuing with my mother’s tradition of encouraging joyful service in our children and set aside the laundry for another day.
Mary Catherine Hinds, Managing Regional Director, Southeast Area, CWS