July 2, 2020

“We have to love the poorest the warmest.” (Sr. M. Emilie Engel)

Sr. Theres-Marie Meyer, Koblenz-Metternich

The Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Koblenz-Metternich guard the grave of Sister M. Emilie Engel, support her beatification and carry on her spiritual inheritance. Sister Theres-Marie Meyer reports:

“We have to love the poorest the warmest.”

This sentence by Sr. M. Emilie motivated us to say “yes” many years ago when the “Tafel (table) Koblenz” asked Haus Providentia whether we could provide a space for their work.

The “Tafel Koblenz” collects unobjectionable food that is no longer needed in retail and should be destroyed. Volunteers pass this on: to families, single people, single mothers or fathers, as well as to refugees in the city and surrounding area who are in existential emergency.

60 volunteers from the “Tafel Koblenz e.V.” association currently collect around 1,000 tons of food a year from supermarkets, bakeries and food producers. (Source: https://www.tafel-koblenz.info)

In the meantime there have been several rooms and also part of our cold storage that were used by the “Tafel Koblenz”. The Corona Crisis asked us Sisters of Mary in Metternich how this could be done in the time of the pandemic.

How can the people who depend on food be cared for further?

There was a short pause and then a quick and flexible adjustment to the situation. While many “Tafels” in Germany had to temporarily cease their service, creative minds from the “Tafel Koblenz” came up with something. Under substantial additional work and in compliance with all hygiene regulations, around 100 household portions were packed daily (see photo) and provided creatively for the poorest at the delivery points to pick up. This was done because the poorest in particular are often severely affected by the limitations of the pandemic.

Continuation despite the corona crisis in the garden building with cold storage

The question for us was, how can we Sisters of Mary support this work without endangering our sisters? A good solution was found in conversation with the board officials. We allow “Tafel Koblenz” to continue its work in the garden building, which also has a cold storage. The board is helped and we remain protected. So we were able to love the “poorest the warmest” again as far as we could.

We would like to thank the many volunteers at Tafel who serve around 3,000 people in and around Koblenz.