Parish Hall Kitchen Feeding West Chester’s Hungry

WEST CHESTER, PA — Two West Chester non-profits are collaborating to creatively address needs as they arise and change with times.

Parish Hall Kitchen is an example of adaptation to needs and circumstances, in the spirit of service. Between their original Friday Night Super Meal program, feeding people in West Chester for 35 years, to the their newest program, Parish Hall To Go that is providing prepared meal to the community’s food insecure, they are presently feeds about 83 adults and 45 children per week.

Act in Faith is the interfaith organization founded in 2010 in response to growing need in the community that resulted from the economic downturn. Executive Director Hallie Romanowski explained it was created to be a single point of entry for those whose needs lie beyond the scope of existing social services.

The organization is located at 212 S. High St., in the lower level of the Church of the Holy Trinity in West Chester Borough.

“Prior to ACT in Faith, people seeking help had to go from one faith community to the next to try to obtain the help they needed.”, she said.

“Individual faith communities were not equipped to meet with people, direct them to resources, or fill the gaps in service so they decided to pool resources,” said Romanowski.

Act in Faith was founded by Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Islamic faith partners who knew that together they can do more than any one could do alone.

The groups had a pre-pandemic partnership. The Friday Night Super program had long been a part of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in West Chester. In 2018, the church created a separate non-profit, Parish Hall Kitchen and the Friday meal became the first program under the new organization.

Rev. Paul Hunt and volunteer Executive Chef Joe McAllister then created a new program, Trinity Restaurant Training, in which participants earn a culinary certificate, gaining marketable skills and job experiencing working for the Friday Night Supper and Trinity Catering.

Prior to the pandemic, the program has had 3 student graduate, at a cost of $5,000 each. Ben Johnson and Beth Morinelli were in the training program when it was suspended due to COVID. They still work several hours a week to prepare the “take out” meals for Friday Night Suppers.

Romanowski explained the partnership between Parish Hall Kitchen and Act in Faith. ACT in Faith identifies candidates for the training program and provides the trainees with their uniform and materials as well as support with any number of obstacles that might keep them from being successful, such as emergency help with rent, or whatever might come up.

But, like so many things, the training program is on hold due to the pandemic so Parish Hall Kitchen pivoted and created the new program, Parish Hall Kitchen To Go, designed to provide balanced, ready to heat and eat meals to low-income households.

Romanowski said that ACT in Faith recognized that there are a significant number of single adults who have no means

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Woman breaks into own kitchen after hungry cats jam the door closed with the food drawer

Cat burglar! Woman has to break into her own kitchen after hungry moggies jam the door closed with the food drawer when they raid it for treats

  • Rachel Straughan filmed the hilarious video in Morpeth, Northumberland   
  • One of her three cats Luna, Mitsy or Effy wanted to get treats from the drawer 
  • It took the pet owner over half an hour to eventually get back into her kitchen 

This is the hilarious moment a woman realises she has been locked out of her kitchen by her cat who had pulled the drawer out to get treats. 

Rachel Straughan realised she was not getting into her kitchen in Morpeth, Northumberland, any time soon as the door wouldn’t open.

As she films her kitchen through the window outside she says one of her pets have lodged the drawer against the door handle, jamming it shut.

One of Rachel Straughan's three cats, Luna, Mitsy or Effy, wanted to get some treats but ended up blocking the entry to the kitchen in Morpeth, Northumberland

One of Rachel Straughan’s three cats, Luna, Mitsy or Effy, wanted to get some treats but ended up blocking the entry to the kitchen in Morpeth, Northumberland

One of her pets have lodged the drawer against the door handle, jamming it shut, as she realises she can't get into her kitchen

Rachel Straughan (pictured) said it took her over half an hour to get into her kitchen after her pet cats had jammed the door shut

One of her pets have lodged the drawer against the door handle, jamming it shut, and Rachel Straughan (pictured) realises she can’t get into her kitchen 

One of her three cats, Luna, Mitsy or Effy, wanted to get some treats but ended up blocking the entry in the process.

The cheeky felines roam around the kitchen counter not realising that they have locked their owner out.

Trying to and gain access into her kitchen, Ms Straughan had to break both the drawer and the door.

She says it took her half an hour to get in, where she found her cats had been tucking into their treats that were sprinkled all across the floor.

They’d burst the packet of Dreamies treats open and had a feast while they had unintentionally locked themselves in the kitchen. 

The annoyed pet owner had to 'shoulder barge the door' to get it open, breaking both the door and the drawer in the process

She found her cats had been tucking into their treats that were sprinkled all across the floor and had burst the packet of Dreamies open

The annoyed pet owner had to ‘shoulder barge the door’ to get it open, breaking both the door and the drawer in the process where she found the cats had been tucking into treats

Their owner asks: ‘Serious?’ As the moggie stays perched on the counter, not realising the hassle it has caused. 

The annoyed pet owner then turns the camera on herself to explain how she managed to break back into the room.

She said she had to ‘shoulder barge the door so that it was open three inches’ so that she was able to get her hand through.

Once her hand was in, she knocked the drawer out on to the floor, causing it to break even further. 

After escaping the event with just a a few bruises on her wrist, she said that she ‘couldn’t believe’ what had happened.  

The cheeky felines roam around the kitchen counter not realising that they have locked their owner out as she films them helplessly from outside the window

The cheeky felines roam around the kitchen counter not realising that they have locked their owner out as she films them helplessly from outside the window 

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Youth help build new community garden to feed the hungry | Local News

Brandon Stewart had a look of satisfaction as he reviewed the row of squash he helped plant last week in a new community garden in Agua Fría Village.

The plants were already showing signs of growth.

“It gives me hope — lots of hope,” said 18-year-old Stewart, who was participating in an effort to plant an array of greens in the 1-acre garden not far from the Santa Fe Community Farm off San Isidro Crossing.

“This will give people breakfast, lunch, dinner,” he said.

The new volunteer initiative, a collaboration among local nonprofit organizations, the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps, Alas De Agua, Mother Nature Center and Santa Fe County, aims to address food insecurity and train young people to work the land. Nonprofits Reunity Resources and Santa Fe YouthWorks worked with county commissioners to secure a 15-month lease on the property.

Commissioner Anna Hansen said the county-owned land had gone unused for 20 years. The farming initiative, she said, is “a small opportunity to show that programs like this can grow in other communities in the county. It’s an example of being the right thing to do in the time of pandemic.”

Juliana Ciano, a program director for Reunity Resources, a community farm and composting organization that turns food waste into soil and provides education on nutrition and agriculture, said this year’s harvest of greens likely will be distributed to YouthWorks to help feed youth in need and members of the local homeless community.

The groups hope for a full season next year to grow a variety of produce.

Eventually, Ciano and Hansen said, the garden could become part of a planned bike trail and foot path through the community.

Reunity Resources and YouthWorks leaders are seeking grants to help sustain the project, which could cost $10,000 to $15,000 per year.

Monique Martinez, 16, a Capital High School student participating in the project, said it felt good to put her hands in the soil as she planted cabbage on a recent weekday afternoon.

She has known hunger, she said.

She spent time living in a homeless shelter with her mother after they moved to New Mexico from Colorado five or six years ago with no money, no job for her mother and no prospects.

“It’s sad to go to bed without dinner,” Martinez said. “But this [garden] will help.”

Jay Hennicke, director of operations for YouthWorks, which provides job training and other services for young people, said there’s no better way to get youth connected with the community than by teaching them to work the land. County and community leaders’ support for the project offers affirmation to the youth that they are doing something worthwhile, he added.

“When these kids get their hands dirty, it’s stewardship,” Hennicke said as he watched Martinez and Stewart dig and plant.

“And when they drive by in 10, 15, 20 years with their kids, they can point to the garden and say, ‘I helped dig these holes. I helped put in these plants.’

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