|By Lori Szepelak
Jackie Filomeno and Bryan Marcotte regularly serve meals at Kate's Kitchen in Holyoke. Filomeno works on community service and special projects at Marcotte Ford, and Marcotte is president of the long-time business on Main Street in Holyoke.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
HOLYOKE Employees of Marcotte Ford are among the businesses and organizations that help keep the doors of Kate's Kitchen open year round.
With more than 50,000 meals served annually, Providence Ministries welcomes and encourages businesses, groups and organizations to sponsor a meal or prepare casseroles for the individuals who seek out a nutritious meal to eat.
"Our resources are limited," said Karen Blanchard, director of Providence Ministries, during an interview with Reminder Publications. "In order for us to keep the doors open, we need assistance from the community. We would hate to have to start turning people away, but if we continue to have our funding cut by the government, we will be forced to cut back our services to the poor of our community."
Blanchard noted that the types of meals and casseroles that are needed should be healthy, with some type of protein and have vegetables. Shepherd's Pie, chili, and American chop suey are examples of meals that are especially welcome.
For more than four years, employees of Marcotte Ford have been answering the call by serving food once a month and providing meals four times a year. In August, employees also set up a tent complete with grills and offer a barbecue.
"It's a lot of fun," Jeannie Filomeno, Marcotte's human resource administrator, said. "I think everyone really enjoys it."
Filomeno noted that her family's business "believes it is important to give back to the community, the community that has been good to us for so many years."
In addition to supporting Kate's Kitchen, Marcotte Ford employees also conduct food and clothing drives quarterly and in September, donate school supplies and backpacks for youngsters. Employees also donate Easter baskets and more than 100 gifts for children during the holiday season.
"We hope that other businesses will get involved with Providence Ministries," she said. "Our employees and their families love being involved. When you see the children get a good meal and people thank us and really appreciate it, it makes you know that you are doing the right thing and it's a good feeling to know that we can help in a small way."
Filomeno added that giving back "bonds their employees and their families" who help and share the experience.
"Businesses and organizations should try it for a day and see how good it feels to be able to help and maybe from there they would commit to once a quarter or once a month," Filomeno said. "It would be a great help to Providence Ministries and to the community."
Blanchard also noted that the Marcotte Ford family "has been outstanding to the ministries; always there with a helping hand and an open heart."
For more information on volunteering opportunities at Kate's Kitchen, call 536-9109. For groups unable to donate their time, sponsorships are also available, which includes a sign of recognition promoting the day of sponsorship and acknowledgement on Providence Ministries' Facebook page as well as other social media venues.
For more information, visit www.provministries.com.
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