Cookbook serves hope in wake of Hurricane Ike

February 17, 2009

When Hurricane Ike made landfall on September 13, 2008, the 600 fundraising cookbooks that had arrived the week prior at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in League City, Texas survived.

Twenty miles to the southeast, the cookbooks' beneficiary, Galveston's St. Vincent's House, a nonprofit social service agency, was not so fortunate. It sustained "upwards of $500,000" in damage, executive director Michael Jackson said in an interview. The facility serves about 70,000 people annually through a daycare and preschool, a medical clinic, a food pantry and a transportation program. Major damage included the destruction of the main building's first floor along with the roof of another building, said Jackson.

The Hope Cookbook, so-called because St. Vincent's considers itself "an oasis of hope," was originally created to raise $6,000. The cookbook is now in its third printing and has raised $8,000, with a revised goal of $22,000.

Prior to Hurricane Ike, the cookbook's profit was to benefit a program that has been put on hold until repairs to the facility can be made. "For now, it's rebuilding," emailed Kimberly Bryant, project co-chair with another young mother, Allyson Hardick. "Now all sales will go towards rebuilding St. Vincent's preschool, computer lab and kitchen, for the benefit of Galveston's children and working families."

St. Vincent's House was established by St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Texas in 1954 and is supported by individual gifts and the diocese.

The cookbook features recipes ranging from stuffed peppers to pumpkin spice cake as well as pictures of murals painted at St. Vincent's by youth and mission groups who have come from as far away as Chicago to serve alongside staff and volunteers to serve Galveston's neediest.

More information is available on the St. Christopher website.

--The Rev. Lisa B. Hamilton is correspondent for Provinces I, II, III and IV. She is based in Venice, Florida and Sandisfield, Massachusetts.