St. Ed's Celebrates 20 Years Of Community Meals
Twenty years ago, St. Edward math teacher Paul Bosley had an idea. Bosley, at the time a relatively new member of the faculty, was an experienced cook who had volunteered at community meals in Painesville. He thought it could be a great idea to have a monthly community meal at St. Edward. He took the idea to Mike Reiling, a religion teacher at the school. The two men presented the concept to the St. Edward administration, which agreed to host the monthly event at the school’s cafeteria.
The first community meal was held on April 28, 1994. Since then, the meal has grown to serve between 125-150 guests per month. In addition, about 30 meals are delivered through the Lakewood Office on Aging, and over 30 more are sent to a women’s shelter. About 50 volunteers work each month to make each meal a reality. The rotating cast of volunteers consists of St. Ed students, parents, alumni and friends. Funds to provide the meals are donated by St. Edward alumni, faculty, and friends. The school provides all the kitchen and dining facilities in its cafeteria.
Bosley and Reiling organize each event: Bosley runs the kitchen operations, while Reiling manages the servers and hosts. The separation of duties fits each man’s personality. “This man makes a great meal,” says Reiling about Bosley. Reling’s easygoing demeanor makes him ideal to manage the dining area. “I don’t have the patience [for serving],” says Bosley, “he is compassionate.”
Both men are very proud of the meal. “It’s the building of the community and the making of friends,” says Bosley. Volunteers have befriended not only each other some of their regular guests over the years. “I’m so proud that we serve such a good meal both efficiently and friendly, and with good spirit,” says Reiling.
The meal helps local residents, but Reiling and Bosley feel that it is also a good experience for the student volunteers. “It gives our boys a perspective on things,” says Reiling. It gives a face to the problem of hunger, as students meet seniors, working poor and battered women in need of assistance.
The most recent community meal took place on March 26 of this year. The event marked two major milestones: 20 full years of service to the community; also, it was the final meal organized by Bosley and Reiling. Both of them are retiring from teaching after over 20 years of service to the school. Despite their departure, the monthly meal will continue to carry on.
Reiling plans to spend his retirement teaching Tai Chi and conducting spiritual programs for adults. Bosley is still undecided on how he will spend his Golden Years. However, he definitely has one goal in mind…..“Never grade a math paper again.”
Mike Deneen has extensive experience covering sports and community stories for the Lakewood Observer. Mike has been a Senior Industry Analyst for the Freedonia Group in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1998. He has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, NPR’s MarketPlace and has been quoted multiple times in The Wall Street Journal. Mike also covers sports for Inside Northwestern, a website that covers Northwestern Wildcat Athletics. You can reach him on Twitter at @MikeDeneen1