Blessings and BBQs

Bishop Tobin blesses new kitchen at Emmanuel House homeless shelter

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PROVIDENCE — Last Wednesday, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin visited the diocesan homeless shelter, Emmanuel House, to bless the renovated kitchen and to enjoy a picnic with about 75 guests.

The kitchen project cost a little more than $20,000 and was completed in three months. With brand new appliances, a new floor and ceiling, freshly painted walls, as well as an updated fire system, the quality of service offered to those who stay at Emmanuel House has increased immensely said Dottie Perreault, the director of Emmanuel House.

“We can offer meals that we weren’t able to before,” said Perreault. “We can buy in bulk and be more cost efficient.”

Using produce from the Emmanuel House garden, now it its third year — which includes collard greens, sweet potatoes, zucchini and squash to name a few — the kitchen will be a place to create healthy, filling meals for many in need.

“They don’t have to hover around the microwave anymore,” said Perreault. “The food is so much better and fresh.”

The funding for the project came from a number of different sources including two major donations, one from a private benefactor and one from one of the local Knights of Columbus chapter as well as a number of different parishes and some individual donors as well, according to Jim Jahnz, emergency services coordinator for the Diocese of Providence.

“I am very thankful that Bishop Tobin, once again, recognized a need of the guests at the shelter and spearheaded the efforts to make the improvements to the shelter as well as the services that we can offer the guests that stay at Emmanuel House,” said Jahnz. “On behalf of the staff and guests I want to thank the many donors who contributed to making the renovations possible.”

After a prayer and blessing, Bishop Tobin asked for God’s blessing on not just the kitchen, but for all those who come to work, serve, to share and to eat.

“We know that God can do wonderful things if he is with us,” the Bishop shared with those present. “Regardless of our situation, our circumstances, our histories or our challenges, we need to be mindful of God’s presence and his goodness, love and mercy in all that we do.”