The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Student recruits restaurants to feed homeless at YMCA


Plainfielder and Loyola U. student Jeanine Gill prepares to serve dinner.

As a summer volunteer at the Plainfield YMCA, Jeanine Gill took on a challenge: helping find new ways of feeding the homeless who are sheltered by the YMCA on a regular basis.

According to Ravenell Williams, the YMCA's executive director, the local facility regularly shelters upwards of 30 people who are temporarily homeless, with the number fluctuating on an almost daily basis.

Feeding these guests is usually done by volunteers from churches, sororities and other community groups, Williams said, but summer presents particular challenges with many folks away on vacation.

So, when Ms. Gill, a Plainfield native now studying at Loyola University, the Jesuit school in Baltimore, proposed recruiting the help of local restaurants, Williams encouraged her to go forward.

Gill was excited to get going and targeted a number of restaurants in Plainfield and surrounding communities. 'While most were eager to help,' she says, 'I did have to use a little persuasion with a couple of managers who thought it was an unusual request.'

When all was said and done, and Jeanine and her mom had gathered together the various offerings, a feast was spread out for the YMCA's guests this past Thursday evening.

'We had so much that there was enough left over for lunch the next day,' the beaming student said.

'Please make sure to thank all the restaurants and their managers for their gracious cooperation,' she added.

The following Plainfield restaurants contributed to the feast --

  • Giovanna's
  • Italian Village
  • Pharaoh's Texas Weiners
  • Rise and Shine
as well as The Stage House, Scotch Plains' landmark eatery, and Paulo's Barbecue of South Plainfield.

Thanks to all for a memorable meal!





-- Dan Damon [follow]


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