For more than 30 years young people and their families at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais have worked together on a food drive that benefits nine food pantries and resource centers in Kankakee County.

Young volunteers bring food back to Maternity BVM.

It brings to mind the old adage, that many hands make light work. It’s true! Called Harvest Sunday, it is the largest food drive in Kankakee County, and always timed right before Thanksgiving.

At Maternity BVM, young people attended the 11 a.m. Mass before heading out on their routes. Nearly 200 parishioners worked together, estimates Maria Pallissard, Religious Education Director.

Spreading out across the neighborhoods throughout Bourbonnais, they covered 35 routes and brought donations back to their parish and to Bishop McNamara High School School in Kankakee — where the food stuffs were sorted and prepared for the food pantries.

Ken and Michelle Barrie with a student at Bishop McNamara High School

Associates Ken and Michelle Barrie helped supervise the volunteers that brought donations back to Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee. They have been involved in Harvest Sunday since it began 32 years ago. Their commitment to walking with young people as they complete this annual service project was highlighted Oct. 14 in the Kankakee Daily Journal.

“The number of food pantries we’re helping has grown,” Michelle Barrie says, ” as the need has grown over the years for the people [who] are food insecure and need help.”

Ken Barrie describes seeing so many young people working together to feed the hungry, as inspiring: “You see the hope and the positivity and the Spirit that comes forth. That is the highlight for me.”

Br. John Eustice works with parishioners in sorting donations.

Back at Maternity BVM, some of the Viatorians on staff pitched in, including Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV, and Br. John Eustice, CSV. Together with their parishioners, they are helping to advance a core pillar of the Viatorian mission, to “build up communities where faith is lived, deepened and celebrated.”