For the month of March (also known as Irish American Heritage Month) IrishCentral is tapping into the heartbeat of the Irish American community. The Unsung Heroes series features inspiring individuals from across the US who do extraordinary work in their communities and respective fields. From advocates to artists, from local legends to dedicated educators, from a high school baseball team to dynamo nuns in their 80s, these people are making a difference and to them we tip our hats in thanks.
For 40 years, Brother Bob Malloy has been serving his community as an unsung hero, helping those who need it most. A priest in the Capuchin order, he serves the mentally ill and disabled and ministers to the poor.
Today’s hero was raised in the Detroit area, where he now runs the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Day in and day out, Brother Bob, as he is familiarly known, sees to the needs of the thousands of men and women that pass through his doors.
A Huffington Post article last year noted how Malloy returned to the city a decade ago to run the soup kitchen. His work includes oversight of multiple programs for the disenfranchised in the Detroit area. His work on behalf of Detroit's poor was acknowledged when he was included in the book "Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World One Nonprofit at a Time," published by Welcome Books.
During an interview for the book Malloy said, "No matter how frustrated I am with someone or they are with themselves, I always tell them, 'I'm never giving up on you.'"
This passionate individual is making significant, measurable differences in the lives of so many in Detroit since his return.
Br. Bob serves as the pastoral director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, while also focusing on the spirituality of people. He makes himself available during meals, as a quiet reassuring presence to those who may need his assistance.
“All people are looking for something to hang on to,” Br. Bob said. “Our guests have a tremendous spirituality.”
Brother Bob has said in the past, “Many of those attend would be pushed away in the mainstream of society. It’s difficult to fathom the day-to-day challenges most of them endure. They are survivors. It’s my role to help in any way that I can.
“It’s often times spontaneous, sometimes chaotic, but it’s always present. Many of the guests at the kitchen site are living on the edge. Many are homeless. Many have mental health challenges. Spirituality is a deep part of their lives.”
What Br. Bob often does is sit quietly at a table in the meal hall and observe those around him. It has been noted that those who attend the kitchen can approach Br. Bob, one by one, seeking solace from whatever difficulty they're enduring.
Brother Bob is known for his gentle demeanor and soothing words that ease the pain of those who are suffering the most. We here at IrishCentral salute Brother Bob and his endeavors.
To find out more about the soup kitchen and how to get involved please visit cskdetroit.org