Rev Alden Burhoe Meal Ministry
Who We Are
During the early days of the food pantry there were no refreshments or meals offered. When we started 'client choice' in the pantry and moved registration for the pantry to the church's undercroft a few volunteers (Vic Buote) made coffee and picked up donated donuts which we offered to our guests while they waited to get groceries.
In 2006 one of our parishioners, Jeff Perry, felt called to start providing hot meals to our guests. He along with a small dedicated group of volunteers (Catherine Anderson, Sue and Steve Parchesco, and Andy Lake) started the meal ministry to serve pantry clients who were waiting to go pick up groceries. Jeff still remembers the first meal being a hearty serving of beans and franks. After a few months in operation, we became a member of the Greater Boston Food Bank and that allowed us to obtain free USDA and MEFAP food. In 2011 we formally and fondly named the ministry after our recently retired first rector, Reverend Alden Burhoe.
In 2012 Jeff changed jobs and had to give up the ministry. From 2012 through 2018 it was coordinated by Virgillio Fortuna (a deacon at our church) and parishioners Paul and Pauline Ouellette. With their tireless effort and the help of Andy Lake and others, this ministry flourished. From the early days of providing coffee and donated donuts, we had expanded to three hot meals each month to any of our pantry guests.
Debbie Fiore coordinated the ministry from 2018 to 2021 when our Food Shopper and planner, Betty Teixeira became our current coordinator. We have been joined in this ministry by a Christ Church Swansea group led by Rev Alan Hesse who cooks and serves our Friday night meal. Saturday meals are cooked and served by parishioners Celina Teixeira, Donna Lewis and Andy Lake. We currently offer a hot meal at each regular Food Pantry distribution. The meals ministry prepares a breakfast (Saturday mornings) or a Dinner (Friday evenings). All of our clients are invited to partake of the meal during the registration process prior to picking up their groceries. In 2019 we had 76 volunteers prepare and serve almost 3,000 meals.
We are extremely grateful for all the Meal Ministry volunteers and parishioners who regularly support our efforts. The money we have saved from this labor has allowed us to continue providing this service. We are also extremely thankful for the efforts of all those folks in our community that support us with their time as well as monetary donations.