Good meal not far as churches dish up food for those in need
Volunteers at area churches and nonprofits are spreading the word that a free, healthy meal is available to those in need most days of the week throughout the year.
One of the longest running free meal programs in town is operated by St. Patrick’s Church, located at 82 High St. Meals have been offered there for the past 20 years. The program, called St. Patrick’s Table, started under the guidance of Marge and Ed Shivvers. In addition, volunteers delivered meals to motels and senior housing developments. Dwindling attendance eventually resulted in the decision to move the weekly Wednesday meal to the lunch hours.
Today, say program leaders, anyone who needs a meal can get one somewhere, most days of the week, because of church-sponsorship of group meals in Wareham and Buzzards Bay.
At St. Patrick’s Table, preparation begins at 8 a.m. the day of the meal when volunteers begin to arrive. Generally, St. Patrick’s Table volunteers will serve up to 70 people.
Five teams of two cooks rotate schedules to prepare the menu that a group of volunteers has planned months in advance. About 10 other volunteers pitch in weekly to help with multiple tasks. In the interim, Jean and Frank Carlozzi make trips to Plymouth’s South Shore Community Action Council, a satellite of the Boston Food Bank, to select the food supplies for the program. The backseat of their car, says Jean, is packed to the roof by the time they leave.
The biggest challenge facing the program is maintaining the funds necessary to provide good meals, which, include food and beverages, as well as paper goods and other supplies.
The Wareham Stop & Shop donates leftover pastries and bread every week, while the parish allots funds to ensure its survival. Those involved with the program say that seeing everyone enjoy each other’s company every week is the most satisfying aspect of their work.
For volunteer Rosemary Krystofolski, serving others is “doing something constructive. I’m not wasting my time.” She agrees with the late Joan VanderStaay’s comment that volunteering is “my way of showing God how grateful I am for the life He gave me.” Jean Carlozzi added: “My mother and father taught me that we have to help people. We have to give back.”
Volunteers, both servers and cooks, are always weclome. For more information, call St. Patrick’s at: 508-295-2411.
A list of area churches serving free meals is listed below.
St Peter’s on-the-Canal
165 Main St., Buzzards Bay; dinner at 5 p.m. 508-759-5641
Onset Foursquare Church
301 Onset Ave. Onset. 508-291-1595
St Patrick’s Table
82 High St., Wareham; lunch noon to 1 p.m. 508-295-2411
First Congregational Church
11 Gibbs Ave., Wareham; breakfast 7 to 8:30 a.m. a.m. 508-295-1630
Emmanuel Assembly of God
15 Highland Ave., Onset; dinner at 5 p.m.
Church of the Good Shepherd
74 High St., Wareham; dinner at 5 p.m.
Third Saturday of the month
Wesley United Methodist Church
462 Main St., Wareham; breakfast 9:30 to 11 a.m. 508-273-7754