DOVER -- With the special help of a Dover Middle School student and more than 100 parish volunteers, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dover has begun a weekly soup kitchen to serve anyone in the community in need of a hot, nourishing meal.
The soup kitchen began March 13 and will be open each Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Family Life Center at 614 N. Tuscarawas Ave. in Dover. "I'm excited and relieved to see it start. I've thought about this for years," said soup kitchen chairperson Andrea Settimio.
St. Joseph parishioners and other volunteers are providing overwhelming support to the project.
"I thought we'd get six teams to take turns staffing the meal. I never expected 15 teams involving about 100 people to volunteer," Settimio added.
Although the idea of a soup kitchen had been discussed for some time in the parish, the project got off the ground when a parish committee was exploring ways St. Joseph could celebrate the Year of Faith.
Pope Benedict declared the Year of Faith last fall to encourage Catholics to strengthen their faith and serve the poor.
Although the project has began as one of the parish's efforts to honor the Year of Faith, the parish is committed to maintaining the soup kitchen on an on-going basis.
The effort received a significant boost from Dover Middle School sixth grader Carlo Capozella, the son of Dan and Jill Capozella of Dover. Capozella donated to the church $885 to purchase plates, bowls, trays, and other supplies for the soup kitchen. The donation is just part of the money Carlo raised by selling bracelets made in Haiti through the Apparent Project. The project is designed to help Haitians become self-supporting.
In addition to his donation to St. Joseph, Carlo sent $1,209 in profits back to the makers of the bracelets in Haiti. He sold 160 bracelets during the last several months. He began the community service project to meet one of the requirements he needed to earn his junior black belt in Tae Kwon Do at the Karam Martial Arts Studio.
"I'm proud of myself. I can't believe it turned into something so big," he said. "I enjoyed doing it and learned that Tae Kwon Do is not just about self-defense, it's about respect and discipline."
The project helped Carlo earn his Junior Black Belt and helped St. Joseph Church serve those in need throughout the community.