Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Who’s Applauding Whom?

Donations are important to the effort to feed the hungry. But words of appreciation have equal impact.

The staThank Youff and volunteers at the soup kitchen think they should be thanking donors.

More often than not, it’s the other way around, notes Director Ed Morgan.

“I can’t tell you how often someone makes a donation, and they THANK ME.”

For example:
  • “We are always awed by all of the volunteers, the behind-the-scene work that goes into what you provide,” Anita and Peter Parisi wrote in a note accompanying their recent donation.
  • “Please allow us to thank you for the work that you and your organization does to feed those in need in our area,” Pat Costello wrote on behalf of the Irish Cultural Center board. A check was enclosed representing donations from their social media outreach.
  • A note from Mike and Kelly Parsons, pledging a monthly donation, began: “Yesterday as I was driving home, I saw a gentleman leaving Mother Marianne’s with a meal. Thank you for providing so many who are in need.”
Perhaps Anita and Peter put it best: “It’s easy to write a check and think we did some good, but are humbled by the thought of people who really care and do the work. We hope that all of you know that those of us sitting at home want to applaud all of you.”

And then we say a simple prayer of gratitude: Deo gratias.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Busy Easter without the Loud Chatter

It was a busy Easter Sunday at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen -- except there was no loud chatter permeating the dining hall.

Director Ed Morgan and four volunteers prepared Easter dinners of ham, scalloped potatoes and glazed carrots, and packed them in to-go containers.

They handed out a total of 156 meals, which also included salad, fruit and desserts.

That wasn’t all.

“Eighteen kids came by,” Ed notes, "and were given Easter baskets" donated by Bonnie and Darren Woods. In fact, the couple prepared a total of 64 baskets, which provided goodies to children over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Volunteers unfazed by pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic struck. Businesses and schools shut down. Most people stayed home.

But the volunteers at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen continued to show up to feed those in need – the poor, the jobless, the underemployed, the homeless.

In fact, the volunteers were “unfazed.” That’s how Kitchen Director Ed Morgan put it.

There was one big change, however. Instead of serving guests in the dining hall, they prepared hot meals-to-go.

"Guests come in the front door; pick up a meal, dessert, fruit on tables set up, and leave through the back door," Ed noted. "This works well, and any contact closer than 6 feet is minimalized."

The volunteers are “amazing,” he added, saying he was humbled by “their continued commitment during these difficult times.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

Birthday Girl Donates Gifts for Christmas


Thanks to some thoughtful people, families who visit the soup kitchen were able to bring toys home to put under their Christmas trees. There were also some 30 children who got presents from Santa himself when he visited the soup kitchen Dec. 23.

Among those thoughtful donors were Katherine Divine, the Remsen VFW, and anonymous givers such as the man who showed up at the last minute with three sacks of gifts just when toys were running short.

Katherine's donation was special. She is 10 years old. Her birthday falls close to Christmas, which means she usually gets a lot of presents. She told her parents she wanted to celebrate her birthday by giving away her gifts. She chose Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen.

Katherine came with her parents, Charlie and Sue, and brother, Leeds, to drop off the gifts, as well as get a tour of the soup kitchen and church.

“She wanted those less fortunate children to have a nice gift for Christmas,” Kitchen Director Ed Morgan noted.
The Divine Family
Katherine with her dad, mom and brother -- and donated gifts 
at the soup kitchen. Photos by Edward Morgan.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Passing the Christmas Spirit

“I got emotional. These kids were overwhelmed with joy.”

Volunteer John Knight was overjoyed himself. He got to dress up as Santa Claus, chat with over 30 children, and hand out gifts along with helper elf Lynda Schmelcher.

This is the second year John played Santa at Mother Marianne's West Side Kitchen.

“I love it. As you can see, it brightens up the kids’ day.”

The gifts they handed out – for children aged one to 12 -- were all donated.

Outreach Coordinator Nancy Robert pointed to the VFW in Remsen, which donated four bags of toys, as well as several anonymous donors.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Special Place in Her Heart

Marianne Turczyn grew up in St. Joseph and St. Patrick parish, and because of that, she says, “Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen holds a special place in my heart.”

She also pointed to a connection with the soup kitchen’s namesake, who herself spent her childhood and young adult life in the parish before becoming a Franciscan sister and heading to Hawaii to care for lepers.

“Saint Marianne Cope grew up in West Utica very near my own childhood West Utica homestead. Unknowing at the time, I walked past her home as my siblings and I walked to St. Joseph's School -- now the site of the West Side Kitchen.”

Friday, December 6, 2019

A Christmas Wish List

With Christmas approaching, many of us have a wish list. Our children typically wish for the latest toys, gadgets and fashions. We adults are not above wishing for new gadgets ourselves. Or perhaps a better job. Or more meaning in our lives.

Nancy Robert has a Christmas Wish List aimed at putting a smile on the faces of people in need.