OGDEN –Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah honored Utahns who help those in need at their Dream Builders Breakfast, which returned after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
CCS operates the largest food bank in northern Utah, and also administers the Bridging the Gap program, which provides weekend groceries to school-age children in need. In March alone, 8,494 bags of groceries were distributed through the Bridging the Gap program.
At the May 3 breakfast, held at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, St. Joseph parishioners Tony and Diana Hanebrink were honored with the Community Advocate Award. Father Charles Cummins, administrator of the Weber State University Newman Center, received the Humanitarian Award, and Donna Chapman, a nurse administrator, accepted the Community Partner Award on behalf of McKay-Dee Hospital. Bishop Oscar A. Solis was the keynote speaker.
The Hanebrinks have been involved with CCS of Northern Utah for 11 years. They organize a volunteer group every year at the Mt. Ogden Post Office for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. In their parish, they serve donuts and coffee between services to raise money to assemble Pantry Packs every quarter for CCS to feed low-income students over the weekend, and head up all the donation drives for food, backpacks and school supplies and other needs. They also drive to the Hill Air Force Base Commissary a couple of times each month to pick up food donations for CCS.
At the breakfast, the Hanebrinks thanked all those people who, they said, do so much more than they do and who do things they were being honored for that day. “You all had the courage to care and that is the reason you’re here now,” Diana Hanebrink said.
Tony Hanebrink thanked CCS for giving the couple the opportunity to serve their fellow man. “Catholic Community Services is helping us do exactly what Jesus told us to do, and what Jesus is going to judge us for,” he said.
Fr. Cummins helps organize the annual Thanksgiving Day Run at Ogden Regional Medical Center, which raises fund and food donations for the underserved in the Ogden community. He also serves as an unofficial minister to the students at St. Joseph Catholic Schools.
“There are people right now who are diving into dumpsters for loaves of bread. They go to fast food places to get packets of ketchup and mustard to make ketchup and mustard sandwiches, doing anything they can to survive,” Fr. Cummins told those in attendance. “We thank you for what you’re doing; in this great country no one should ever go hungry.”
McKay-Dee Hospital personnel volunteer at CCS’ Bridging the Gap program, and the hospital is a partner in the Alliance for the Determinants of Health project, which has invested $3 million in the Ogden and St. George communities.
“We’re humbled to be able to partner with such a great organization,” Chapman said of CCS. “We look forward to serving the community inside and outside the hospital walls and with working with many of you as we work to share love, compassion and hope through service and cooperation.”
In his remarks, Bishop Solis acknowledged both the award recipients and those who contribute to the work of CCS.
“Dream Builders help to provide food for the hungry,” he said. “A meal for a poor, hungry child or family may not be that much of a big deal for someone who has more. But for a hungry child or family, it is about survival, even a matter of life and death. Providing food seems minimal and does not attract much attention, but when done in charity it is great in the eyes of God.”
“Dream Builders bring the good news of God’s Love and salvation to those who need our help and hope in their life,” Bishop Solis said. “Our dream becomes a reality to our brothers and sisters living in the nightmare of hunger, poverty and other needs. You bring light in the darkness of despair by plucking the poor out of their misery through your generous help. You make them feel they are not alone, that they have God with them.”