"The motto flowers before bread expresses our core belief that sharing love and respect and bringing beauty into the lives of the elderly is as essential as meeting their physical needs. We honor all individuals by meeting the basic needs of the human spirit: to serve others, to love and to be loved, to belong, and to enjoy life."
When a guest arrives in our home we first greet them, then offer food. The emphasis is first on caring for them spiritually and emotionally. The guest is Christ and we are called to welcome him into our hearts first and foremost.
The beauty of this emphasis is that it places physical care for the poor in the right context. Rather than emphasize a moral duty to provide certain basic necessities to all persons, we emphasize providing love and welcoming Christ. Providing for their needs naturally follows. In this context the duty tranforms into something life giving for everyone involved. I wrote about this in my Christmas reflection, A Request that Sent Me Begging.
For more info see their web site: http://www.littlebrothers.org/. In an article entitled 'Don’t forget isolated elders over the holidays' Talor Kiland had the following to say about Little Brothers:
Their origins hail from France, when Catholic church friars (or “brothers”)
were concerned about impoverished elders living in sub-standard housing
after the physical devastation of World War II. They organized their outreach
to this isolated population and Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly was born
with the motto “Flowers Before Bread.” The organization expanded to the
United States more than 50 years ago and now has 10 chapters around the
country – in Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia,
San Francisco, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Omaha, and Washington,
D.C. Vetted volunteers are matched with elders who are identified by the
community as isolated and at-risk. The “Little Brothers” volunteers pledge
to spend a few hours each month visiting their elder. In addition, the organization
organizes social activities for and delivers meals to elders on major holidays.
Organizations like Little Brothers can make a significant difference in the
emotional -- and physical -- health of an elder and there are just not enough
volunteers for the growing population in need.
(Source: The Examiner)