Three Catholic parishes in Arlington Heights are collaborating to host a 5K/1-Mile Fun Run/Walk on Saturday to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Society and outreach ministry at each of the churches. Our Lady of the Wayside, St. James and St. Edna’s  — whose combined congregations number nearly 9,000 families — are combining for the first time on the race.

Fr. Gilbert Mashurano, left with last year’s fastest male and female, Charlotte and Sean Kim

In hosting the family event, the tri-parish effort aims to raise awareness — and needed funds — for people who are struggling to make ends meet right in the surrounding community.

“These ministries offer transportation, food and housing security as well as referral services to those needing to bridge tough times,” says Race Director John Supplitt.

The race starts and finishes in the parking lot at Our Lady of the Wayside, located at 434 W. Park St. in Arlington Heights. A kids’ dash takes place at 7:45 a.m. before the race/walk starts at 8 a.m. While it is not a timed event, prizes will be awarded for the top male and female to finish — as well as biggest family to participate. Registration for individuals or families can be found online.

At St. James, its St. Vincent de Paul Society has helped hundreds of families in the area since 2006. Some 27 active volunteers work behind the scenes answering hotline calls daily.

“Knowing how we bring Jesus into their lives, giving them hope as we pray with them and help them financially as best as we can with rent, food, utilities, medicines and support them with the donations from our parishioners and elsewhere, is gratifying,” says Bonita Minaglia, president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. James.

Last year’s winners of the largest family to compete

Meanwhile further north, at St. Edna’s, the parish runs its own food pantry, which feeds 50 to 60 people every Saturday morning, says Kathy Pellettieri.

“We rely on donations to stock the pantry but the need is so great we have to supplement by purchasing many items each week,” Pellettieri says. “The pantry shelves are usually bare when we close up shop on Saturday mornings.”

At Our Lady of the Wayside, St. Vincent de Paul members pick up messages left on voicemail and reach out to the client to determine the need. Requests vary, from one call a week to five or more, but the St. Vincent de Paul Society is a bridge to take people to the next step. Assistance can range from short term financial assistance, but often includes referrals to Catholic Charities, local township services and other resources.

“One word to describe our members is nimble,” says Judy Kendzior. “The needs of the community are constantly changing and we need to adapt in order to be of service. But we are always in communication with local parishes and other churches to ensure that Wayside is helping people in need, regardless of the client’s religious belief or denomination.”


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