Attention to detail makes meal for 300 a success Carroll ministry will feed the needy

November 28, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Pat Kaczorowski can plan a free Thanksgiving dinner for 300 down to the last drumstick.

With four years' experience as the "supply sergeant" for the annual community dinner for the needy, she knows what she needs and how to get it.

Kaczorowski's shopping list includes 18 20-pound turkeys; about 40 pounds of bread for stuffing; and commercial-size cans -- 7 pounds each -- of green beans, carrots, sauerkraut and cranberry sauce. And there are desserts, drinks, paper products and cutlery, favors for the tables and presents for the youngest diners.

She starts organizing in September for the Thanksgiving meal sponsored by Shepherd's Staff, an ecumenical ministry in Westminster that provides the basics for the impoverished.

"I look at what we need and figure who uses that," she said. "By now, a lot of people I call know what I want. I don't look for dollars, but donations of products."

Nearly all area grocery stores supplied products or gift certificates for the dinner. By yesterday, almost all of the traditional foods were stored in the cafeteria at St. John Catholic School.

The turkeys are roasting tonight at several restaurants and Westminster Fire Hall. Carvers are sharpening their knives.

Donations filled every available space in the cafeteria.

"Do you have room for any extra milk?" Kaczorowski asked the cafeteria supervisor. "I'm having 200 half-pints delivered."

Last year, nearly 300 guests of Shepherd's Staff dined at St. John. Organizers expect that number or more this year and prepared enough to serve 400.

"The way the canned-good donations are coming in, we could probably serve 500," Kaczorowski said.

Volunteers also have promised dinner deliveries to about 30 shut-ins and transportation to anyone who needs it.

"Most guests are from Westminster, but word has gotten out and they are coming from farther away," said Virginia Stoner, who oversees all of the cooking.

Each guest leaves the dinner with a bag of fruit and nuts and another full of staples -- enough for a day's worth of meals.

Kaczorowski does not worry about what is not in the pantry.

"It is amazing what turns up here Wednesday and Thursday," she said. "A genuine outpouring comes from the community."

St. John is at 30 Monroe St., Westminster. Information: 239-3689.

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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