Nearly 100 volunteers were treated to a banquet at the Club Monarch on May 17 in gratitude for their service at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen over the past year.
Some volunteer two days a week, many one day a week, and others step up on holidays.
“I have a whole army of volunteers behind me,” soup kitchen director Edward Morgan told the crowd. “I’m like a conductor. I tell you what to play, and you play!”
He shared that he would be cutting back on his hours for a while as he deals with a health issue, but would remain as director and that the Advisory Board would be looking for an assistant director to help him.
“I love each and every one of you. I do.”
The volunteers jumped to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.
Advisory Board Chairman John Sullivan told the crowd that he personally sees Ed’s dedication to the soup kitchen ministry.
“He’s a big man with a big heart. He has shown us what Christ is all about.”
The evening began with Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon presenting a citation to Ed and John, recognizing the 11-year-old soup kitchen’s impact on the community.
“Thank you for your service,” she said. “…You do it because you care.”
Fr. Richard Dellos, pastor of St. Joseph & St. Patrick Church, offered an invocation and blessing.
Ed singled out a few of the volunteers for their impactful dedication:
- Bob and Terry Decker, “for going above and beyond” as they volunteer every Wednesday and Friday.
- Lucretia Hunt, who at age 90 shows up every weekend to hand out bagged lunches.
- Nancy Robert and her sisters (Phyllis Bonanca and Pat McCraith), who set up “West Side Boutique” in a former classroom above the soup kitchen to provide clothing, personal care items, haircuts and medical screening to soup kitchen patrons in need, including the homeless.
- Kelly Fleming, who coordinates the food recovery network with Sodexo at MVCC and SUNY Poly, providing 18,000 pounds of food to soup kitchens over the past two years.