Catholic Free Press

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  • May
  • 12

Company donates truck to St. John’s food program

Posted By May 12, 2017 | 8:35 pm | Lead Story #2
William T. Clew | CFP

Standing in front of the new van donated to the St. John’s Food for the Poor program are, front, Francis Carroll and Kevin Holmes;  second row, John Ritucci, William Riley, Alicia Kunicki and Sarah Baldelli; third row, Father John Madden, John Paul Giroux, Shannon McIntire and Joe Bonofiglio.
William T. Clew | CFP Standing in front of the new van donated to the St. John’s Food for the Poor program are, front, Francis Carroll and Kevin Holmes; second row, John Ritucci, William Riley, Alicia Kunicki and Sarah Baldelli; third row, Father John Madden, John Paul Giroux, Shannon McIntire and Joe Bonofiglio.

By William T. Clew | The Catholic Free Press

 

The St. John’s Parish Food for the Poor program has another truck to pick up donated food for its food kitchen. A 2012 Chevrolet Express Van was donated by Tri-State Trucking Center, 411 Hartford Turnpike, Shrewsbury, and its president and chief executive officer, Kevin G. Holmes. The van has been used for four years by Tri-State to deliver parts, according to John Ritucci, Tri-State’s chief financial officer, who drove the van to the parking lot next to the St. John’s food pantry building on Temple Street Tuesday afternoon. The Food for the Poor program now has three vans, said William Riley, superintendent of the program’s St. Francis Xavier Center soup kitchen and food pantry. The vans are used to pick up food donations at five Stop and Shop supermarkets. The new van will enable the program to add three more markets. Mr. Riley said breakfasts and lunches are served from 7 to 11 a.m. Between 500 and 700 people are served meals daily. Mr. Holmes, whose company also runs a campaign called Haulin’ 4 Hunger, said that donating the van to the Food for the Poor program was not the end of his company’s outreach. “It is only the beginning,” he said. Last Christmas, Tri-State Trucking donated 90 hams to the program and 40 Tri-State employees showed up to unload them, Mr. Riley said. According to Mr. Holmes, the Haulin’ 4 Hunger program began five years ago. It now delivers thousands of food packages to food pantries and programs in the area. Tuesday, state Sen. Michael Moore thanked Mr. Holmes for remembering the people in need every day. He also thanked Francis Carroll, in attendance at the presentation, for his efforts for the hungry. Mr. Carroll has been responsible, in large part, for the major expansion of the St. Francis Xavier Center soup kitchen. Timothy Murray, president and chief executive officer of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, also thanked Mr. Holmes for getting involved in programs that feed people and give them dignity. St. John’s Parish not only feeds people, but provides housing when extreme weather hits. During the past winter, St. John’s took part in the city of Worcester’s program to provide temporary shelter for homeless people when the temperature dropped below 20 degrees. When the city’s Queen Street shelter filled, St. John’s took in as many as 50 people. Cots were set up in the basement of the church, which was dubbed “Hotel Grace.” Many of those who took shelter there went to the soup kitchen the next day for breakfast and lunch. The St. John’s shelter program was supervised by Richard Gonzalez, who was able to call on about 70 volunteers to help make sure those seeking shelter found it and were safe. That program was prominently featured in a program last week at City Hall celebrating the work last winter of Worcester’s faith-based community with the city’s homeless adult population. Dr. Matilda Castiel, Wor/Users/MargaretMary/Dropbox/5-12 stjohns truckNU.txtcester Commissioner of Health & Human Services, welcomed the gathering. A documentary film, “Welcome to Hotel Grace,” by Angelique Webster, was featured. Mr. Gonzalez, Father John F. Madden, pastor of St. John’s and the Rev. Aaron Payson of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Worcester led a panel discussion titled “Perspectives of the Faith-Based Community.” Each later received a key to the city, presented by Mayor Joseph Petty. The shelter program initially included the Unitarian-Universalist Church and All Saints Episcopal Church, but those churches’ facilities did not meet city codes for shelters and could not be used. Katherine Calano, the city’s Homeless Projects manager, said Gail Bourque, a parishioner at All Saints, was among the first to write a proposal to the city making the case for churches to house the homeless and continued to advocate for the program after it was decided to use only the shelter at St. John’s. Father Madden is also involved in another effort to serve the homeless. He is a co-chairman of the 32nd annual Walk for the Homeless sponsored by the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance. Kevin O’Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives in Worcester, is the other co-chairman of the walk scheduled for May 21. The 3.1-mile-long walk begins and ends at Elm Park. Registration starts at 1 p.m. The walk is over relatively flat terrain and will begin at 2 p.m., rain or shine. The goal is to raise $32,000 through online donations, assist more than 500 families in maintaining safe and stable housing, help 1,000 additional people who need access to safe shelter, nutritional meals and household goods and bring together more than 1,100 walkers, runners and volunteers to demonstrate a community commitment to end family homelessness, according to the CMHA web site, cmhaonline.org.