In early December, the Orange Location Auxiliary members, along with local Knights and Dames, held a free flu shot event at Mary’s Kitchen in Orange, California.
Alzheimer’s Orange County connected the Orange Auxiliary with nursing students at Concordia University, who administered the flu shots at the event. The Orange County Health Agency generously transported and provided the vaccines.
Dr. Vincent Nguyen, KM, also from the Orange Location, not only volunteered his time, but also collaborated with Alzheimer’s Orange County to provide a generous donation of masks, sunglasses, and hand sanitizer. These items were added to the assembled hygiene kits, which already contained a prayer card, socks, a razor, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, masks, hand sanitizer, and lip balm.
Several Knights, Dames, and Auxiliary Members from the Los Angeles Location drove the Mobile Ministries van to the flu shot event, and set up the tables, chairs, tents, and supplies. Both the President of the Los Angeles Location, Michael Psomas, and the President of the Western Association, Michael Grace, were on hand to lend their expertise, as well as Dr. Joseph Pisegna, an Auxiliary Member and volunteer with Mobile Ministries.
In addition to the free flu shot event, Orange Auxiliary members volunteered back-to-back weekends at Mary’s Kitchen, preparing over 180 lunches and sack dinners, and distributing backpacks containing socks, gloves, beanies, hand sanitizer, and masks.
Mary’s Kitchen, a charity in Orange, serves 200 lunches, six days per week, to the local homeless and needy population, packing and distributing to-go lunches, consisting of a hot lunch, a sack dinner, a dessert, and a drink.
Please enjoy the following testimonial from a member:
“Recently, the members of the Order of Malta Auxiliary gathered at Mary’s Kitchen in Orange, California. Over 120 homeless men and women were lined up for breakfast in a place of relative safety, a refuge from the streets. Through our collaboration with the nursing students from Concordia University, we also offered free flu shots and hygiene kits to each person in need that morning.
There was a hooded, masked man in a too-worn leather jacket who was bent over and wrinkled far beyond his years. He approached the reception area under the awning for a flu shot. Within minutes, the safety check had been given and the shot administered. Before he left, he put $1.25 on the table. We gently tried to return it to him — "there is no charge!" — and he replied that it was his donation to our effort. He turned quickly around and began to walk away. We thanked him, and unexpectedly he turned around and came back. We shared a Bible verse or two, then he gave me a hug and trudged away.
“Merry Christmas!” he said.
His name was John.”