Because We Are Catholic: As Soup Kitchen Volunteers, Students Live the Mission of the Diocese

Monica Emrock

Monica Emrock knows there are some lessons kids cannot learn in the classroom.

That’s why, in her role as Director of Religious Education for St. Anne parish and school in Bethlehem, she takes students on regular trips to feed the hungry at the Catholic Charities soup kitchen in Allentown.

“It is an eye-opening experience for these kids,” Emrock says. “What really strikes them is that some children come to eat without their parents, the older ones caring for their younger siblings.”

The Catholic Charities Ecumenical Kitchen, at 179 Chew Street, runs on the generosity of its donors, and is powered by volunteers from schools and parishes around the Diocese.

Emrock takes mostly eighth graders from the school, and from the parish’s religious education classes. They ask to come back again and again. “Sometimes they and their families bake for the soup kitchen, even when it’s not their turn to volunteer,” she says.

Through service to others, the students are learning a life-long lesson, while at the same time living the mission of the Diocese of Allentown: “A Roman Catholic family of faith, centered in the Holy Eucharist, faithful to the Church’s teachings, bringing the Light of Christ to each other and to our community.”

Emrock sums up the volunteer work this way: “We’re just doing what Jesus would have done.”

 “Because We Are Catholic” tells the stories of how the people of the Diocese of Allentown make a difference in the lives of others, bringing the Light of Christ to each other and to our community.