Thursday, January 4, 2024

Stuff the Chapel

 One would think that filling a chapel at a Catholic school would not be much of a challenge.

Nancy Robert (2nd from left) with ND sstaff & tudents.
But Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School put a unique twist on the concept as a way to get holiday donations for Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen and Boutique.

Thus, Stuff the Chapel was born.

“Campus Ministry hosted the ‘Stuff the Chapel’ event and the whole student body, staff and families came together and donated both food pantry items and boutique items,” noted Campus Minister Brittany Wilcox (at right in photo). (Photo left to right: student Andrew Scalise, Boutique Coordinator Nancy Robert, students Jenna Herron and Logan Shedd, and Campus Minister Brittany Wilcox.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

How a soup kitchen is good for the resumé

 Want to know how students in Marisa Cardillo’s senior seminar class learn to add depth to their resume?

They volunteer at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen.

Marisa is an English teacher at Sauquoit Valley High School.

“We create resumes in this class early in the year and I noticed that much of the service experiences revolve around putting in the time here, close to home, with many familiar faces,” she noted. “I wanted to expose them to what it means to serve marginalized, often overlooked or forgotten groups within our greater community.”

So, in 2017, she reached out to the soup kitchen as well as a nursing home. Her class has been making an annual trip ever since.

Sauquoit Valley students at soup kitchen
Photo provided by Marisa Cardillo

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Irish Fun That Does Some Good

Pat McGrath
Pat McGrath
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is not only about celebrating Irish culture, where “a ton of people” have fun, but also about getting together “to do some good” and “affect people’s lives.”

That’s how parade co-director Pat McGrath described the donation of food and money to Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen on Wednesday, March 22.

McGrath, along with parade food drive co-chairs Bernie Adorino and Chris Hoke, presented an oversized check to kitchen manager Mike Pilat, representing $2,000 that the parade raised for the soup kitchen (some $1,600 in cash from spectators and another $400 from a private donor).

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Spirit of the Irish Propels Food Drive

Bernie Adorino
Bernie Adorino of Adorino Construction Inc. was looking for a non-profit cause he could help sponsor some 13 years ago. While visiting City Hall and chatting with city officials, he heard about the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee and decided to reach out. The committee at the time, with the urging of member Chris Hoke, decided to collect food during the parade for Mother Marianne's West Side Kitchen (which opened its doors a year earlier). For Bernie, it seemed a good fit.

Every year since then Bernie has partnered with the parade committee to sponsor the food and money collection, providing manpower and wheelbarrows to collect donations along the parade route as well as a pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer.

Even though the parade was canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the food drive continued, especially with the help of the students and families at Notre Dame Elementary School, Bernie noted. This year's parade on Saturday, March 12 was back to normal – except for a snowstorm that hit the area, inhibiting the number of parade-goers. Even so, the spirit of the Irish was at play.

Friday, February 19, 2021

A Food Drive Blessing

 “We really have a lot of blessings. Our donors.”

 That’s how Advisory Board Treasurer Joe Antonik put it when reviewing recent donations to the soup kitchen.

Board Chairman Darren Woods gave special note to a group involved in a Christmas food drive. General Contractor Michael Bonacci of Whitesboro organized the drive, collecting $1,500 in foodstuffs and money from businesses and individuals.

volunteers serve holiday meals to guests

Thanks to donors like them, volunteers served 3,665 meals in December.

The rest of the story is that Michael was inspired to help the soup kitchen because of his wife Rosemary’s enthusiasm. Her public relations students at Utica College adopted the soup kitchen last semester, and got to see the operation first-hand.

As Darren put it: “They really are passionate about Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen.”

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pythian Watchwords: Friendship and Charity

Dave Lowitz first got to know the work of Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen when he was working for the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL). At the invitation of Deacon Gil Nadeau, RCIL sent an outreach team to see the need first hand. They discovered, among other things, that 27 percent of the guests were homeless and 70 percent were unemployed.

Recently Dave recounted how impressed RCIL was with the work of West Side Kitchen, and that he had the pleasure of presenting Deacon Gil with RCIL’s Community Support Award back in 2010.

Knights of Pythias
Terry Reich, Ken Alcerin, Peter Carchedi, Dave Lowitz
In a visit to the soup kitchen on Jan. 11, Dave made another presentation, this time on behalf of the Knights of Pythias. Joining him were other members of the local lodge’s board – treasurer Peter Carchedi, Terry Reich and Ken Alcerin. They presented a check for $1,000 to soup kitchen Advisory Board Chair Darren Woods and Interim Kitchen Director Mike Pilat.

Peter said the donation came from the New York Grand Lodge’s Humanitarian Fund.

Dave pointed to the fraternal organization’s aim to help people through its principles of “Friendship, Charity and Benevolence.”

But perhaps Peter said it best:

“We know that you people do good work.”

Thursday, December 24, 2020

‘It’s like a miracle,’ Santa observes

 John Knight was observing the line of people winding its way through the soup kitchen, getting take-out meals before heading his way. In fact, he was the center of attention because he wearing a white beard and red suit.

“Merry Christmas,” he shouted repeatedly. “Be sure to get your gifts.”