“It’s gratifying for me that I’m doing something to help,” said volunteer Evelyn Puz. “That’s what God teaches us.”
Similar sentiments were shared by other committee members of Project HOPE, which stands for Help Our People Eat.
“God has always been good to me, and I wanted to give something back,” said volunteer Frances Stines. “As long as he continues to give me good health, I will keep doing it.”
About a dozen people from Elmhurst, Ridgewood, Middle Village and Maspeth come to the parish hall on Mondays for a meal that always consists of a hot entrée, soup, and juice. All individuals who are down on their luck, regardless of whether or not they are homeless, are welcome to eat.
Deacon Art Griffin, Project HOPE Program Coordinator, said nobody has been turned away because thus far, food supplies have been sufficient to feed everyone who comes.
Project HOPE turned a year old in December, and reflecting on the first year, Griffin said the initiative remained surprisingly unfazed by the onset of the recession.
“I think it says that people, no matter what their own economic circumstances, they’re still willing to help people who are more in need than they are,” said Griffin.
Food and financial contributions have poured in from all over Maspeth, including supporters such as the Lions Club, the Maspeth Kiwanis Club, Glendale Bakery, Pioneer Supermarket, Frank’s Deli, Remsen Diner, and even a local chiropractor.
O’Neill’s Restaurant sends over hot food every Monday like clockwork. And of course, Transfiguration’s parishioners have given generously to the cause; one woman, said Griffin, brings in two huge trays of rice and beans that she cooks in her own kitchen.
On Tuesdays, Griffin takes to the streets with Eucharistic Minister Frank Griebel in a 1996 Toyota vehicle. Always returning to the same spots, they distribute sandwiches, soup, and juice to nearly 50 undocumented workers and homeless individuals.
“As soon as we pull up, they know who we are because they recognize the car,” said Griebel. “I have yet to have someone not say thank you.”
Transfiguration Parish is located at 64-14 Clinton Avenue in Maspeth. If you would like to volunteer with Project HOPE, please call Deacon Art Griffin at (718) 326-2236. All volunteers are welcome, but someone with a car who can ride the streets one to four Tuesdays a month is urgently needed.