FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Chicopee – Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry is currently seeking donations to help fund their annual Christmas lunch held on Christmas Day at the kitchen. Last year, the kitchen saw over 100 people on Christmas Day and even had two seatings to accommodate the large crowds. In attendance was a mother of five children who had recently been displaced by a house fire. She requested to remain anonymous, but told Lorraine’s executive director Andrea Marion that having a meal on Christmas Day meant the world to her kids despite the fact that they had recently lost everything.
Putting on a holiday meal with two seatings for over 100 people is no small task. The kitchen spends one week preparing for the day, including peeling potatoes, decorating the dining room, and ordering enough ham to feed everyone. This year’s cost to host dinner is expected to rise with the increasing amount of people in need on Christmas Day. Marion and her team are anticipating a 25% increase in attendance. “We are asking the community for donations during the month of December to help us fund the meal,” says Marion who also indicated that the cost per person is almost $5.00. “We are looking for any help we can get this month so that we can put on a Christmas meal that is festive and filling, something we all have the right to experience.”
Marion also goes on to explain that financial donations to the kitchen can be stretched much farther than actual food donations due to the ability of the kitchen to obtain food at deep discounts through wholesalers and government subsidized programs. “It sounds counterintuitive to not give food to a food pantry, but we are able to leverage monetary donations to obtain food at .19 cents per pound, including nutritious food staples and even fresh produce,” Marion says.
Lorraine’s also launches their Annual Appeal this month which will help to continue funding operations at Lorraine’s throughout the year including providing emergency groceries to over 6% of Chicopee’s population. The Annual Appeal accounts for roughly 15% of total donations for the year. If you or someone you know is in need of a meal on Christmas Day, lunch is served between 11:30am-1:00pm at Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry located at 170 Pendexter Avenue in Chicopee. To donate to Lorraine’s this holiday season, or to sign up as a Christmas Day volunteer please visit their website at LorrainesSoupKitchen.com or call 413-592-9528.
The Annual 5K walk run to benefit Lorraine’s will get an overhaul this year. After participant feedback, Lorraine’s has moved the race to the cooler weather of October 16th as well as holding the race on a Sunday as has been done in the past. The race will also feature family-friendly activities and a full BBQ. A special musical performance by “The Goat Ropers” will be featured.
Unlike last year’s “Reach the Beach” race, runners will run through a scenic trail into Chicopee State Park, but will not be running on the beach this year. It’s important to note that the race DOES NOT start at Chicopee State Park, but at Williams Family Park, which is located to the left of Williams Distributing (880 Burnett Road) in Chicopee.
This year’s Harvest 5k Run & Walk is being sponsored by Laporte Shea & Borys Insurance Agency, a long-time supporter of the kitchen.
Full press release to follow. Please click this link for more information on the race. http://www.lorrainessoupkitchen.com/events/harvest-run-walk/
- Andrea Marion to become Lorraine’s Executive Director October 2015
What a year it has been! There have been so many great things happening here at Lorraine’s, it is hard to list them all.
However, some of the highlights include:
A new partnership with The Gray House in Springfield where we are providing pantry services to clients in greater Springfield, including Chicopee residents.
We celebrated in style at our 25th Anniversary Gala which kicked off a year-long capital campaign to raise $25,000 to make much needed improvements to our facility.
Our 5K was given a facelift, and we were excited to rollout the “Reach the Beach 5K Trail Run” on September 19th at Williams Family Park.
We expanded our emergency food program to
provide on-demand food staples to over 1,000 homeless families.
For the first time in three years, through streamlining
operations and increasing our grant funding, and private donations (that’s your generosity), we are projected to be operating in the black by the end of the fiscal year.
All of our staff, volunteers, and contributors have worked alongside us this past year to help implement these changes in order to encourage our growth and further our mission of helping even more of our friends and neighbors. Your support has been amazing!
That said, it is bittersweet that I tell you that I will be stepping down as Executive Director the end of September. I will be focusing on working with clients as a psychotherapist in a community clinic as well as continuing to provide marketing, public relations, and advisory support to Lorraine’s. It is my pleasure to introduce Lorraine’s next Executive Director, Andrea Marion. As many of you know her, Andrea has been with Lorraine’s since 2013 as both Director of Development and Associate Director.
During her time here, Andrea and I have worked together closely to enact the changes and opportunities I have listed above. I have the utmost confidence that Andrea will continue to grow this organization to provide resources to our families in Chicopee. She is creative, innovative, and truly understands what Lorraine’s is all about.
I thank you for your support over the last year, and I truly look forward to seeing the great things in store for this organization. It has been a privilege to lead Lorraine’s.
All the best,
Michael Chunyk, MSW
Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry