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.”

Monday, September 28, 2020

‘This must be where I’m supposed to be’

 Ed Morgan stepped up to head Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen nearly four years ago. After four months on the job, he decided to ask some volunteers how they thought the operation was going.

“I guess it’s alright,” Cheryl Wakeel said. “You haven’t pissed me off yet.”

Another responded by saying, “Who are you?”

Cheryl Wakeel, Ed Morgan, Darren Woods
Cheryl Wakeel, Ed Morgan, Board Chair Darren Woods.

Ed recounted that exchange during a recognition dinner for volunteers and donors, held Sept. 26 at Club Monarch – where Ed announced that Cheryl was the Fr. Richard Dellos Volunteer of the Year. Cheryl is one of those volunteers he could really rely on, noted Ed, who is retiring for health reasons. When he needed something done, he would call her and “never got a no.” 

Cheryl was a little more than surprised by the honor.

“I was absolutely shocked.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

She Thought It Was a Necklace

 West Side Boutique Coordinator Nancy Robert read an article about Emilie Fancett, a 13-year-old girl who collects and gives away rosaries. She reached out to the girl’s mother, Brenda, about making some rosaries available to soup kitchen patrons. 

Brenda and Emilie Fancett
Brenda and Emilie
Emilie and Brenda visited West Side Kitchen Aug. 26 and not only donated over 150 rosaries, but also several boxes of crayons and coloring books, stuffed animals, school supplies, games, prayer cards, prayer booklets, and Bibles.

Nancy was thrilled, but she couldn’t help but wonder: Why the love for the rosary?

It all started with Vacation Bible School at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Chadwicks, where then-8-year-old Emilie received a goodie bag. Inside was a rosary.

It was a curious thing for her, being raised a Presbyterian. “Do I wear it as a necklace?”