Jake Van de Walle, Intern
Sometimes, it can be tough capturing the scope of the work you all do for the West Side Catholic Center in a single blog post.
When I was asked by the Advancement Department here at WSCC to share my thoughts, I didn’t really know where to start. As a summer intern just beginning my time here, one of the things that immediately struck me was the way in which the work of the WSCC is really fueled by the generosity of its community.
One of the biggest goals for a blog like this one—the reason why it’s completely distinct from the “News” and “Publications” sections of the WSCC site—is to provide a more personal glimpse into what we do here at the Center. There’s an understanding that the WSCC lives through its people (compared to the amount of faces doing good work in this building each day, the number of full-time employees is surprisingly low), and with that understanding comes a strong obligation to recognize those who give their time, talent, and treasure to the community here. The feeling of being witnessed and understood is an important part of our mission, and it’s why we take the time to publish these blog posts—to communicate to our community that you are seen, you are recognized, you are appreciated, you are essential to the work that we do.
The thing is, there’s a level of service that is unable to be adequately captured in a blog like this. And speaking of treasure...
Once a month, almost every month, a parcel arrives at the WSCC through the mail, wrapped in large yellow packaging envelopes and bubble wrap. Inside each, there are a set of sheets and a baby blanket—sometimes the same kind, sometimes different. These packages have been arriving at the Center for at least the last three years. Each one has included a return address, but no name.
The anonymous sheet donor is a fun riddle that we can’t help but let grab our attention at the Center. I had a quick sleuthing session with our Director of Programs, Judy Kern, and listening to her talk about the clues she’d gathered over the years was like being taken along through a Sherlock Holmes story. The return address (somewhere in the Westlake area), the type of sheets (perhaps the donor purchased them in bulk?)—it’s fascinating to think that someone who has been giving such substantial gifts for so long could still be a mystery to those at the WSCC.
“You open the package and you smile,” Judy told me. “Because she struck again.”
As much as the Holmes in each of us would love to crack this case, and to bring the culprit the positive attention he or she richly deserves, there’s something very profound in the tradition of service without recognition that helps the West Side Catholic Center run every single day. That so many like our mysterious bedsheet benefactor could be so generous with their time, talent, and treasure, and never need their names be known—it’s a truly humbling thought, and brings with it the knowledge that our work is not possible without these unnamed everyday saints.
This blog is about recognizing and honoring those that make a difference for the better in this community. What makes it such a difficult task is also what makes it so genuinely incredible to think about: often times, your service goes beyond our capacity to honor it.
But we’ll keep doing our best. And we thank you for the sheets, wherever you are.