Residence: Waverly Twp.
Educational/professional background: University of Scranton alumnus and director of human resources for a large, local manufacturing company
Q: How many meals does the kitchen serve?
A: Last year, the kitchen served 83,000 meals. Since the kitchen’s inception in 1978, we have served over 3 million meals. Normally, the kitchen serves 140 to 180 meals per day. Currently, with the COVID-19 crisis, the kitchen served 5,000 meals in March, down from approximately 1,500 meals per month due to offering no meals at night. We are still continuing to feed people every single day, including weekends and holidays, and giving extra food/helpings per visit to help our patrons make it through this difficult time. The food pantry normally served 230 families per week; we are now serving 350 per week. Our food pantry has significantly increased, whereas the kitchen has decreased due to the shelter- in-place recommendations.
Q: How will proceeds from Host for a Day be used?
A: The proceeds from Host for a Day will be used to directly fund the meals that are served to our clients. A donation to the kitchen literally helps feed the homeless, people who do not have income to pay for a meal, the elderly, the veterans, the children. All walks of life come to our kitchen to have a nutritious, great-tasting meal. We will never turn anyone away. We do not ask for ID, your income level — we ask nothing. If you are hungry, come and eat, no questions asked. That’s why this campaign is so important.
Q: Why is community support so important?
A: The St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen is here to serve the community of Scranton, and by the same token, we, too, need the assistance of the community of Scranton. As they say, “it takes a village.” Whether it be someone’s culinary talents in making the meal, or the volunteers serving those meals, or our patrons, and everyone involved in between, we are all able to be an active component. If you are hungry, we are here to help and provide you with a hot meal. More than a hot meal, we are here to provide a compassionate community — whether it be a smile, or a hello, or a conversation.
If you go
What: St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen
Where: 500 Penn Ave., Scranton
When: Meals: daily, 11 a.m. to noon; food pantry: Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Details: Food bags are distributed at the door. No food or clothing donations are accepted at this time.
How to donate:
To make a donation to the Host-for-a-Day campaign, visit stfranciskitchen.org/host-for-the-day/ or the GoFundMe site, charity.gofundme.com/stfrancisofassisikitchen, or mail a check to St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, Attn.: Host for a Day, 500 Penn Ave., Scranton, PA 18509.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. Additionally, Laura curates events online and copy edits print editions of the Life&Times and Weekend Times sections of the newspaper. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5228; @laurarysz