Take and Eat, Inc.
“People Feeding People”
Take and Eat, Inc. was founded in 2003 by Deacon Francis Ryan, Ed.D of Williamstown’s Catholic Community of St. Patrick & St. Raphael Parish, and his wife Kathleen as a Non-Profit organization to recruit, train and empower volunteers in various faith based community organizations to prepare and deliver, free of charge, hot nutritious meals to homebound seniors on weekends and three day holidays. Approximately 80 percent of the clients served are female, over the age of 65 and include all ethnicities and religions.
The government funded Meals-on-Wheels Program provides meals to seniors from Monday thru Friday. On weekends and holidays these elders in need, for the most part, have no access to a nutritious meal and in many instances no contact with another human being.
Take and Eat works from three basic assumptions:
1. That most churches have a functioning kitchen that is probably underutilized.
2. That there are elder citizens who receive Meals-on-Wheels in the Church’s immediate area.
3. That the members of the faith community want to “put shoes on the Gospel Message” and seize the opportunity to help those in need.
Take and Eat’s first meals were prepared and delivered to 80 elders on Easter Sunday 2003 in North Adams through St. Anthony’s Kitchen (now part of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish). Since that time, Take and Eat has enabled 1,700+ volunteers to serve over 1,700 clients in the preparation and delivery of over 140,000 meals through 2009…35,000 of those meals were provided in 2009 alone.
In 2010, as Take and Eat continues to expand the Areas it services, its initial estimate for meals preparation and delivery is 40,000, along with a continued increase of faith based community volunteer participation in the Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties.
Take and Eat has received thousands of responses from seniors served by this Ministry over the past 7 years – a sampling follows of the reasons why everyone involved in this Ministry is so dedicated to insuring this Ministry continues to flourish:
“My Mother enjoyed the entire meal that she received from Most Holy Redeemer in Hadley…she loved the fresh salad and the tender chicken – she had some extra pasta and chicken she ate for supper. The dinner roll and cookies were a nice surprise – she said this was a meal prepared with LOVE! Thank you!”
“The food was a pleasant surprise – we are often ill prepared for weekend suppers. Can’t shop as much as we would like. The food was grand…I’ll be 89 on August 8 and my wife is 86. She was hospitalized for 3 months (Feb – April). Neither of us is spry. Many oldsters in area…various ailments. We try our best not to burden anyone. Daughters both work in Boston and are busy…help when they can. Thank all people in this measure to do good…God be with you all.”
“I am struggling with life right now. With your help, maybe someone will come into my life and help me. Trouble just seems to come my way. Could you see if someone could help me get back into the Church. Thank you for your love…P.S. I’m shy right now. Take and Eat’s Meals on Wheels is a wonderful organization. I went from 98 lbs dying to 135. Thanks and God Bless!”
“Thank you for your thoughtful idea for this program. I’m 84 years old. I’m afraid to use my gas stove now that I’ve been put on oxygen. So it’s wonderful for me. I used to have a summer place in Heath – I’ve been through Florida many times on the way to N. Adams. The meal was delicious. The portion is perfect. They make the best cookies. Their chocolate chip are so good and freshly baked. Bless the people who volunteer their time to cook the meal and those that deliver them. Thank you.”
At present Take and Eat’s major source of funding comes from the Annual Catholic Appeal of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, MA. Without the ACA’s support, Take and Eat would be unable to continue to expand this program throughout the Diocese and achieve the nutritional and spiritual nourishment it enables its participants to provide to the homebound senior communities. We humbly ask for your continued support to our Mission and those other dedicated agencies funded by The Annual Catholic Appeal. We are all grateful, as are the recipients of these services, for your enabling us to continue our Ministries to the Community.
For additional information about Take and Eat, Inc. please refer to their web site: www.takeandeat.org or contact either Deacon Frank Ryan or Kathleen Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 413-664-1041.