Tomorrow! Bill Riley!🍀 Lover of the poor/hungry! Director of St. John’s Church weekly fruit and veggies giveaway! King of their serving kitchen! Grand Marshal of Woo’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade!

Congrats, Bill! A very cool honor! You so deserve to head the Parade – and to bask in all the warm accolades on a chilly March morn!

Bill Riley – Grand Marshal of tomorrow’s 2018 Worcester St. Patrick’s Day Parade! On the job at St. John’s!

Photos and text by Ron O’Clair

This first photo shows Bill Riley greeting a Muslim family (not shown) who have been coming to the St. Francis Xavier Saturday food giveaways on Temple Street for some time. …

There were three family members present: the man, his wife and a daughter.

Bill asked them where was their son?

Apparently, on a previous visit, the son had forgotten to take along a multipack of snack chips that Bill then presented today to the daughter to bring home for the boy. Bill also went out of his way to include a package of Ice Cream for the family, as well.

The Saturday food program at St John’s was originally started to distribute fresh vegetables and fruits grown by local farms. But times are tough so, under Bill’s leadership, it has now grown to where Bill and his volunteers give families and folks – who live in the district (they must show i.d.s/proof of residency in the neighborhood) two frozen meat packages, pastries and snacks, children and adult books and clothing items – as available. You never know what might be available for distribution!

Bill checking i.d.s

This is the type of thing that makes Bill special in my book. At the church’s St Xavier Center …IMG_20171124_143233

… he takes the time to greet people from all walks of life. He takes an active interest in helping people. All of his volunteers deserve praise for their unselfish contributions of many different kinds to help folks in Worcester.

This photo shows Bill and Fran manning the tables with fresh vegetables and fruit for the people who come to the center …

The next picture shows a cross on the center’s wall of Jesus; it has a palm attached to it for Palm Sunday:

The fifth pic shows Billy checking identification at the head of the line to ensure the people live within the district they serve from this food distribution point:

He had to turn a woman away who only came with a passport for I.D. – it does not have a local address. He told her to go to the back of the line … I am sure that Bill will ensure the lady does not go away empty-handed after the line of people with the required I.D. gets served. He is that kind of person. Billy can be a firm disciplinarian when required (he’s a former prison guard), but he has to be firm to run a program that serves hundreds of people a week. Everyone knows he has a generous heart and tries always to be compassionate.
Cheers, Billy!

St. John’s Church on Temple Street. pic: R.T.