ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — September marks Hunger Action Month, which aims to take a stand against hunger. For 32 years, St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen in Altoona has stood by this mission.
The kitchen on Union Ave serves more than 100 people with a balanced meal. This meal consists of proteins, vegetables, desserts and drinks.
Sister Paula Delgrosso has been running the kitchen for 32 years. She said a kitchen like hers is needed in every community.
“There is always a need. You know, and there always will be, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” DelGrosso said. “Some say, ‘Well, I didn’t know we had people in our community. There’s no shame in that. The shame is that we don’t do anything to help.
Those who walk through the kitchen doors will not be asked for anything or judged. However, people have to follow the rules that Sister Paula has put in place, which she says is what most families do.
From Monday to Friday, at least a dozen volunteers prepare enough food to serve people. Evelyn Shannon has worked in the kitchen for ten years and she loves every second of it.
Every meal Shannon prepares, she thinks about how she would serve her family. She wants to offer a delicious meal made with love.
“I’ve always believed that the way to cook is to cook with love. And that’s how I cook it. I cook with love,” Shannon said. “It’s always a great meal. I received so many compliments from so many customers thanking me for providing a meal.
But Shannon said she couldn’t finish all the work without her colleagues. Larry Mcintire has been volunteering at the kitchen for 11 years. He does a bit of everything on site, including service.
All the volunteers said they always received compliments from those who came to express their gratitude and appreciation. Mcintire agrees that more people need to be aware of places like the kitchen.
“It’s a hugely needed part of our community,” Mcintire said. “We have an obligation to take care of people who are not as lucky as us.”
After spending two and a half years serving meals outdoors, they finally brought their business indoors. The kitchen being indoors gives a sense of community and engagement.
Sr. Paula noted that those who come to the kitchen may live alone, but when they enter the kitchen they are warmly welcomed and chat with those present.
“People were happy to come in,” Delgrosso said. “A lot of them are alone and they have friends there. They can talk. They are really happy to go inside.
Community members Nick Telesco and Tammy Askey have been coming to the kitchen for a while. They love the diversity of the place and the delicious food they receive. The community that enters the kitchen is what keeps them coming back.
“Inside, you get to know everyone and feel part of a community,” Telesco said. “People you wouldn’t normally meet, you’re going to meet these people here. So it’s very diverse. »
“I love everyone here,” Askey said. “All I have to do is walk in here, and people say, ‘Hi Tammy, hi Tammy, how are you, Tammy? It brings me back all the time.
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The kitchen is open Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.