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.
"We had a great contingent of about 35 volunteers" marching in the parade, Bernie said. They carried signs, pushed wheelbarrows and encouraged the crowd to donate. They were easy to spot as they all were wearing white sweatshirts that Adorino Construction provided. Bernie drove the pickup truck, with his dog Cooper at his side. Cooper was sporting a green sweater and was enjoying the attention and shouts from dog-lovers in the crowd.
"People were very generous," Chris said. "There were a lot of twenty dollar bills."
Bernie noted that combined with a food drive at Notre Dame Elementary prior to the parade, they were able to donate a pickup truck load to the soup kitchen – some 1,000 food items.
In addition, Bernie and Chris presented West Side Kitchen Manager Mike Pilat with checks and cash totaling $1,170.
Said Chris: "Once a year it's something we do. It's fun. And it’s for a good cause."
And a good way for Bernie Adorino to give back to the community.
|Bernie Adorino and Chris Hoke (right) present check to Kitchen Manager Mike Pilat.