Church serving hot meals twice a week
January 6, 2010
Craig — Tammy Villard and her mother-in-law, Bonnie, were greeted at the entrance to St. Michael's Kitchen by the rich scent of bubbling vegetable soup and the buzz of a kitchen full of cooks, dishwashers and other volunteers.
Susan Domer rushed over to greet her friends in a hand-sewn apron with bumblebees and flowers.
"What happened to your arm?" Domer asked Tammy Villard, who had a large sling on her right arm.
"I had shoulder surgery," Tammy Villard said. "I can't drive; I can't cook."
"Oh, we'll cook for you, then" Domer said. And, with a motherly smile, she ran back to the soup she had cooked that morning.
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"There's lots of hot soup, and it's cold outside," she said, as the Villards and a few other guests filed into the basement of St. Michael Catholic Church, 678 School St., for a free hot meal.
The kitchen serves a meal to anyone who needs it from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays.
Domer, who works 40 hours a week at Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply, uses one of her two days off a week to help cook for whoever walks through the door.
Sandy Orgoglioso and several other parishioners volunteered to deliver meals to about 13 people who are homebound and were recommended to receive a free meal.
"To me, it's a ministry of nurturing, caring and reaching out," Orgoglioso said. "There could be some who can't get out of their houses, or some who are lonely. I have one lady who is 98 years old. And there's one who's 40 but is in a wheelchair. And they're just thrilled."
The fresh-cooked meal Tuesday was an Italian soup with every vegetable Domer found at the grocery store that day. She said all the ingredients and supplies for the meal had been donated by local businesses.
There was a casserole donated by The Memorial Hospital's kitchen, and desserts brought in by some of the church's parishioners.
"We have so much bread pudding," Domer said. "This one lady brought it down. I didn't get her name and she just disappeared. It was like a gift from God."
The Villards were seated at a table decorated with holiday-themed centerpieces. With her shoulder sling, Tammy Villard said she would have had to eat at her desk if her mother-in-law hadn't invited her down to the church, which is within walking distance from her job.
"It's great because it gives people who might not get out of their homes a place to go," she said. "On Tuesdays, my husband is in Steamboat, and I can't drive, so this worked out perfect for me today."
Butch Carey, who had been attending the meals since they began last week, said serving a free meal is an excellent idea.
"I don't like to cook," he said. "Everyone else's cooking tastes better. There's definitely people out there who are hungry and don't have a place to go. I'm not even Catholic, but this church has done a lot for Craig."
For Domer, there is no place she'd rather be on her day off.
"It's been fun," she said. "It's like having a family dinner. I think this is something they need in this community, something to get people together. It's like a party. It feels like Craig used to. Like that small-town atmosphere."
She said she needed something fun to do, and since she enjoys cooking and eating food, the St. Michael kitchen was exactly what she needed.
"It's like having a Thanksgiving every week," she said.
In the kitchen, Orgoglioso had time to make one more delivery before she had to leave for work.
As she heaped a serving of casserole into a Tupperware container, she told her fellow volunteers about her clients that day.
"We'll have to call ahead, because Elaine wasn't home," she said. "And Walt said we gave him too much last time, so he wants less."
Everyone in the kitchen was amused and a little taken aback that Walt would think his portion was too large.
"But I don't think there's ever such a thing as too much food," Orgoglioso added.
For more information about volunteering or receiving meals from the kitchen, call 824-5330.