Photos by James A. McBride
Susan Mackey (right) and volunteer Rita Maldonado wrap sandwiches that will be distributed through the Cathedral Pantry at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden. Mackey and attorney Kevin Walsh, pictured at left, are the recipients of the “Reaching Out To Those In Need” award, sponsored by Holy Name of Camden Ministries.
The annual “Reaching Out To Those In Need” award, sponsored by Holy Name of Camden Ministries, will be given to two social justice activists, Susan Mackey, Outreach Coordinator of the Cathedral Pantry, and Kevin D. Walsh, associate director of the Fair Share Housing Center.
The presentation will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the annual celebration hosted by Holy Name of Camden Ministries at Tavistock Country Club, Haddonfield.
In her role as Outreach Coordinator of the Cathedral Pantry at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden, Susan Mackey oversees the distribution of lunch bags to 350 to 500 people five days a week.
The food is donated by a variety of sources, including supermarkets, food companies, parishes and individuals. Volunteers staff the Cathedral Pantry to assemble and distribute the lunch bags.
In addition to “reaching out” five times a week, the Pantry distributes bags of food to families every third Tuesday, consisting of food staples such as chicken, corn, beans, potatoes, rice, pasta and spaghetti sauce.
“What is most astounding is the efficiency of this operation,” Holy Name of Camden Ministries said in a statement announcing the award. “Susan coordinates this program, in addition to her responsibilities as parish secretary, on a budget of just $100 a week.”
“When I reflect on what we do at the pantry,” Mackey said, “I cannot believe that we receive so many donations that allow us to serve this many people at such a low cost. It always reminds me of the Gospel where Jesus feeds thousands with a basketful of bread and fish. Whenever we are empty, someone always comes through with more food.”
When Kevin Walsh completed his first year of law school he was not set on a career as a public interest lawyer. But taking a year to serve with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) inspired him to focus his energies on the resolution of pressing social justice issues.
After graduating from Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, Walsh clerked for a year with New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein. He then joined Peter O’Connor at Fair Share Housing Center where he has used his legal skill to lead the campaign for housing for lower-income families in suburban New Jersey.
It has been a long, ongoing fight but his work has led to the creation of thousands of homes for lower-income families in communities that would have often excluded them if given the chance to do so.
Early in his legal career, Walsh was exposed to the stark injustice of the death penalty in New Jersey. He became involved with the New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP) where he served as counsel in its successful fight to have the death penalty abolished in 2007.
Walsh’s work is highly recognized by his peers in the legal profession for his contributions to a just society for all, especially “the least of us.” He received the Mary Philbrook Award from Rutgers School of Law in Camden in October 2012 and was named Lawyer of the Year in December 2012 by the New Jersey Law Journal.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Camden also benefits from Walsh’s talents. He has served on the board of trustees for the past decade.
“Walsh’s lifelong commitment to a more just society for all exemplifies the ideals of ‘Reaching Out To Those In Need,'” Holy Name of Camden Ministries said.
The guest of honor at the Oct. 30 event is Dr. John Giannini, head basketball coach at La Salle University. The proceeds support the ministries that serve the families and children in North Camden and surrounding communities: Holy Name School, Holy Name Scholars, St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services, Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, and Guadalupe Family Services.
Tickets are $100 per person. For information and reservations, call 856-365-1001 or go to http://holynameofcamdenministries.org
For more information, contact Sister Helen Cole, 856-365-1001 or email@example.com