Catholic Charities West Virginia

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In Memory Appeal Stories

All Souls Day commemorates the faithful departed and calls for the faithful living to pray and give alms for those who have passed. In honor of the upcoming All Souls Day, we asked to hear your stories about those faithful departed Who Inspired the Charity in You.

We received some truly inspirational stories, some of which we have shared below.

 

Who Inspired the Charity in You?

As our family grappled with the myriad possibilities for an initial donation in our father’s memory, “nurturing” was the resonant theme.  Toni Bedway was the consummate nurturer.  My grandparents, immigrants from Lebanon, originally settled in Wheeling but left after losing two sons in a devastating flood.  They migrated to a small mining town, Adena (OH), where they taught their children the integrity of working hard for your family, church,  and community.  Every morning from the tender age of 12,  Dad worked as a butcher boy before going to school ; after school he worked in the grocery store.  During the Great Depression, he watched his mother feed homeless men who knew to stop along the train route.  When I was old enough to work summers with my aunts who later ran the store, my first lesson was how to identify those who could not afford their groceries so that they could be granted credit and maintain their dignity in a small town.  Later, as I helped in the office dad shared with his beloved brother, John, and sister, Adelaide, I marveled at the meals prepared by my aunt in a small kitchen.  Executives and attorneys expressed sincere appreciation for the ethnic fare that inevitably included hashweh (lamb/rice/pine nuts), lubia (green beans, lamb, onions, tomatoes), salad and Syrian bread.  Sharing Syrian bread represented security, love, and thanksgiving for each other, God, and the United States of America.  Dad fed us his ideas, his philosophy of life, and his dreams. Long after he realized financial success, his zeal over the perfect corn or Marietta tomato provided tangible perspective about what is truly important in this world.  When you found the seasonal fruit or vegetable, it was unspoken that you procured enough for all your relatives because this was our language of connectedness and love.   Throughout his life, he celebrated his successes by giving back to his communities:  scholarships, volunteering on various Boards, and unsolicited donations because he perceived someone had a need.  He fed minds, hearts, and bellies.  Therefore, we view our kitchen gift as our way to share Dad’s legacy of humility and service.  Through the preparation and sharing of food we hope to inspire and challenge others to recognize that by breaking bread we break down unnecessary barriers.

~ Marquita Bedway and Family

Giving is a way of life that I learned from my parents and my grandparents. They gave of whatever they had, whether it be their time, talent or treasure. Giving to others was an important part of the way our family lived, and these values were instilled in me.

My grandmother was especially inspirational to me. She was passionate about making our community a better place, and she was a dedicated volunteer and supporter of several causes. I am inspired by her drive and her generosity, and I hope to continue her legacy of giving in my own life.

~ Will H.