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Feeding a faraway flock

\St. Clare’s Mission Circle #274 writes cookbook to raise funds for village in Uganda

Posted: November 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.

From left, Charlotte Wilgus, Jacque Bunning and Anne Grandjean place items in boxes along with a cookbook of their personal recipes to benefit their missionary work in Uganda.

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Though they’re thousands of miles away, the residents of the village of Kabetemere in Uganda are always on the minds of St. Clare’s Mission Circle #274.

The circle, comprised of select members from St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Canyon Country, was formed in August 2009 after an impassioned plea from Father Leo Tintakumire about the incredible difficulties villagers faced every day.

“What initially caught our eye was how the women and children had to walk five miles each way, each day, just to get water,” said Ellen Cutler, of Saugus. “There’s such a great need.”

To date, the circle has raised $10,000 to help the people of Kabetemere with a rainwater collection system, educational facilities, scholastic materials and clothing.

 With the release of Feeding the Flock, a cookbook making its debut at the St. Clare of Assisi Roman Catholic Church’s eighth annual holiday boutique on Sunday, Nov. 13, the circle plans to raise even more funds.

The $10 spiral-bound cookbook features 236 appetizer, soup, salad, main dish, side dish and dessert recipes from church parishioners, including circle members such as Cutler, Anne Grandjean and Charlotte Wilgus, of Canyon Country, and Jacque Bunning, of Saugus.

Grandjean’s meatball pasta soup is a particular highlight, according to Bunning.

“Anne served it at a fundraiser. I just love that soup,” she said.

Father Owen’s pork loin is another hit.

“He’s our pastor,” Cutler said.

“It’s an excellent dish for company,” Bunning said. “It’s like a pulled-pork, just delicious.”

According to Shirley Wheeler, of Canyon Country, a circle member who edited the book, there are dishes to suit every taste in Feeding the Flock.

“We have a lot of different recipes — Filipino, Italian, Mexican, French, and German — from our parishioners,” she said.
“It’s mainly home cooking, family recipes that have been handed down through the years,” Grandjean said. “The dishes kids will tell you, ‘You have to make that, Mom.’”

Along with the cookbook, the circle’s boutique booth will include raffle prizes such as an Italian basket, a kitchen basket and a tea basket.

“We are just one organization at the boutique. There will be several more featuring all types of arts and crafts,” Bunning said.

Coordinated each year by Nancy Fishwick, the boutique will offer handmade and artisan items including jewelry, purses, accessories, blankets, afghans, quilts, scarves, stuffed animals and holiday gifts. Admission is free.

For those who can’t attend the boutique, Feeding the Flock cookbooks are available through Cutler, who is willing to deliver orders to buyers within the Santa Clarita Valley.

“We’re hoping to make $3,000 with the cookbooks,” Cutler said.

Members of the church have already purchased 100 of the initial 300 copies.

“Everyone we know is getting a cookbook for Christmas,” Bunning said with a smile.

Throughout the year, the 10-12 active members of the circle meet monthly to talk about fundraisers and other ideas. Their next soup lunch is scheduled for Feb. 9 and the annual white elephant gift exchange is set for May.

“We make about $500 at the soup lunch and a couple thousand from the sale,” Cutler said.

“There’s not many of us, but we’re successful. I’m proud of our group,” Grandjean said.

Every penny raised goes directly to the village through Tintakumire, who sends regular updates. When the members saw a photo of young children wearing tattered clothing, the circle asked Tintakumire to rectify the situation. A photo was sent shortly thereafter, showing children with smiling faces and new clothes, which delighted the circle.

“What we’ve managed to contribute goes so much further there than it would here,” Grandjean said.

Future projects include a shelter for women and children fleeing from abuse situations and a school for all ages.

“We want to educate women so they can educate their own children and give them a better life,” Cutler said.

“Our feeling is that we need to make sure each child gets a good education,” Bunning said. “They’ll be the ones taking over the village someday.”

The eighth annual holiday boutique at St. Clare of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, Sunday, Nov. 13, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., 19606 Calla Way, Canyon Country. Free. To order the “Feeding the Flock” cookbook, call Ellen Cutler at (661) 296-4325 or email


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