Bishop Gerber accepts award on behalf of thousands

Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber accepts the President’s Award, lower left, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals on Wednesday, Nov. 11

By Christopher M. Riggs
Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber accepted an award last week but said he was doing so on behalf of the thousands of people involved with serving the hungry at The Lord’s Diner.
Bishop Gerber received the President’s Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Wednesday, Nov. 11, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Wichita.
Before accepting the award, he talked about the genesis of The Lord’s Diner and about the many people in the community who generously gave of their time, talent, and treasure to build the $1.25 million soup kitchen – which opened without one cent of debt on Feb. 13, 2002.
Among the stories he told, Bishop Gerber recalled one afternoon when he ran into two elderly men who looked like twins, both about 85 years old, walking near the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception toward The Lord’s Diner.
“I asked them, ’Where are you going?’” he said. They answered that they were going to The Lord’s Diner.
“What’s there?” Bishop Gerber said he replied.
“They treat us with such respect,” Bishop said the men told him. “It was not the food, but the respect and dignity.”
Bishop Gerber said the Diner has a small staff and about 6,000 volunteers to serve the hundreds who arrive every night of the year for a meal.
“It is an amazing thing,” he said. “To sit at a table with those who are hungry. With children who are famished at the end of a school day.”
Bishop Gerber said the idea became a dream which became a vision which became a mission.
“It all started with a tiny seed and that tiny seed was the Lord,” he said. “It’s his Diner. It’s his Diner. He’s shepherding his people. He’s feeding his hungry.”

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Download Bishop Gerber's remarks here.