East Windsor soup kitchen issues call to ‘meet the challenge’

By Tom Phelan - Staff Writer
East Windsor - posted Wed., Apr. 6, 2011
Linda Bond, husband Jack, and Eileen Venditti cook dinner and serve meals on Fridays at Pauline’s Stockpot Kitchen. Photos by Tom Phelan.
Linda Bond, husband Jack, and Eileen Venditti cook dinner and serve meals on Fridays at Pauline’s Stockpot Kitchen. Photos by Tom Phelan.

Operating as a non-profit distributor of food for those in need is a challenging enough task, but when suddenly you have to look for another place to prepare meals and serve the tables, “challenge” takes on new meaning.

Pauline’s Stockpot Kitchen has been operating out of the Wesley United Methodist Church in Warehouse Point since the end of 1990. Then came the winter of 2011 and feet – not inches – of snow. The aging WUMC building staggered under the weight, and the ceiling began to sag. Not only was the congregation forced to hold services elsewhere, the soup kitchen needed a temporary home that would serve them just as well, until the Wesley church was repaired.

The “kitchen” operates as a mission of Wesley United Methodist Church, but with the support of St. John’s Episcopal Church, First Congregational Church of East Windsor and the Rotary Club of Broad Brook. They also have the ongoing support of many local businesses. So the logical solution was for Pauline’s Stockpot Kitchen to move across the intersection of Bridge and Main Streets to St. John’s, where they would have all the facilities they were used to at their Wesley UMC home. “We didn’t miss a night,” said PSK General Manager Jack Bond recently, as he prepared for a Friday night meal.

The kitchen serves Friday night dinners to anyone who comes through the door. No names are taken, and there are no qualification criteria. People come, not just from Warehouse Point, but from all sections of East Windsor, from right across the Connecticut River in Windsor Locks and Windsor, and from Enfield, as well. In 2010 the kitchen served 51 meals to 5,438 guests – an increase of 500 meals in 2009. They average 85-100 guests at a meal. One night, about a year ago, Bond said they fed 140 people.

Each of the kitchen’s supporting organizations sponsors a night in rotation. They get help from volunteers in those organizations, high school students and from community service groups.

Now PSK has issued the call for donations of food and money to help replenish their stores during the annual Feinstein Challenge.

The soup kitchen is hoping for a share of a $1 million pool of funds from the Rhode Island based Feinstein Foundation. Organizations can earn a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $40,000. The actual amount of funds received is determined on a pro-rated scale based on the total of all donations received.

The Feinstein Challenge only applies to donations raised by the Food Shelf and Loaves and Fishes during March and April. The Feinstein Foundation, which is dedicated to the alleviation of hunger, was founded in 1991 by Rhode Island millionaire Alan Shawn Feinstein.

Monetary donations to the soup kitchen can be sent to Pauline's Stock Pot Kitchen, 55 North Main St., PO Box 288, East Windsor, CT 06088-0288. For more information, call 860-627-9507 or visit paulinesstockpotkitchen.org.


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Pauine's Stockpot Kitchen

Linda Bond, husband Jack, and Eileen Venditti cook dinner and serve meals on Fridays at Pauline’s Stockpot Kitchen. Photos by Tom Phelan.

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