Help Wanted: youth willing to serve 1,200 meals

Help Wanted: youth willing to serve 1,200 meals

Youth and volunteers from Saint Mary of Mount Carmel, Hammonton, pose for a photo with Frank McCay, second from right, manager of Sister Jean’s Kitchen, at AtlantiCare’s Mission Healthcare picnic and community health fair last weekend in Atlantic City. Below, Serena Colon and Kimberly Pesotski, youth ministry director of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel, serve up hot dogs and burgers to the hungry.
Bottom photo by Peter G. Sánchez

ATLANTIC CITY — A week removed from Summer in the City, where they lived out the Gospel values in caring for the poor and marginalized, youth continued that work here last week, serving 1,200 meals here at Pop Lloyd Baseball Stadium as part of AtlantiCare’s Mission Healthcare picnic and community health fair.

The 20 youth teamed up with the local Sister Jean’s Kitchen to provide a free lunch that included barbecue chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs to the area homeless.

In addition to the hot meal, visitors could receive health care information and assessments from vendors in the stadium, while children could play in the Bounce House or dance to a DJ’s tunes.

“The interactions the youth had with the homeless during the fair opened their eyes up to the importance of this work,” said Kimberly Pesotski, youth ministry director at Hammonton’s Saint Mary of Mount Carmel Parish. Her group attended the 8:30 a.m. Mass at Saint Joseph Church before making their way to the fair.

Pesotski was first introduced to the work of Sister Jean’s Kitchen, and its manager/chef Frank McCay, when she led a group there during the Summer in the City week, sponsored by the Diocese of Camden. Through McCay, she found out about their need for help on Aug. 25, so the assembly line of grillmasters, youth and chaperones alike fed and hydrated the hungry masses.

“Frank has empowered the youth to help,” she notes, adding that she’s looking forward to bringing her youth group back to Sister Jean’s Kitchen to serve. Soon, the Atlantic City-based kitchen, now in a Presbyterian Church, will relocate to the former Saint Monica Church on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“God willing, I’ll be here every day to feed the people,” said McCay.

The young church was glad to help McCay and his team.

“It was a good opportunity to show the homeless that we care and want to help them,” said 14-year-old Rita Maturano.

Marleigh Puglia. 15, called the event “a great day” for those serving and being served, and expressed interest in continuing to aid Atlantic City’s homeless. “I would love to keep volunteering” with Sister Jean’s Kitchen, she said.

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