St. Teresa of Calcutta Church in Fairdale, Ky., launched a new ministry — St. Teresa’s Kitchen — Aug. 8 by handing out about 150 meals to parishioners and individuals in the community.
Nick Dachille — a member of St. Teresa who will be ordained a deacon Aug. 29 — said organizers want parishioners and others to know the parish is thinking of them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People in the parish are strapped for funds. We wanted to let them know we hadn’t forgotten them. They’re valuable to us,” said Dachille. The meals are not only for parishioners but anyone in the community who’s in need, he said. “We want to make sure they have something warm to eat for their body and hopefully the Holy Spirit can feed their soul,” he said during a recent interview at the parish.
Dachille — who along with his wife Carolyn are long time parishioners at St. Teresa — said he felt a calling even before the pandemic to feed people in his community. “It’s in keeping true to our patron saint’s (St. Teresa of Kolkata’s) motto ‘we can do no great things, only small things with great love,’ ” he said.
St. Teresa of Calcutta Church was formed in October 2008 (then Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) by the merger of St. Jerome and St. Mary churches. Part of the church’s mission is outreach to the poor in the Fairdale area. The parish operates a Dare to Care food pantry and hands out food baskets at Christmastime, said Dachille.
The Aug. 8 meal was a turkey dinner prepared by parishioners and handed out through a drive-through line at the church located at 903 Fairdale Road. Meals were delivered to individuals who couldn’t pick up, said Dachille.
They plan to host another meal giveaway around Thanksgiving and another at Easter time while they iron our the details and raise money for the ministry. The goal is to host monthly meals for the needy in the city’s south end, said Dachille.
Carmelite of Mary Immaculate Father Benni Pengiparambil, who became pastor of St. Teresa in June, said he’s very “happy and satisfied” with this new ministry. Father Pengiparambil was born in Kerala, India, more than 1,400 miles from Kolkata, India, where St. Teresa of Kolkata served the downtrodden, sick and dying.
During a recent interview, Father Pengiparambil recalled the story in the book of John where Jesus asks his disciple Peter if he loves him. When Peter responds, “Lord, you know I love you,” Jesus said to him “Feed my sheep.”
“It’s not only giving food to the needy, but reaching out to ask, ‘How are you doing?’ especially during this time of COVID-19 and to let them know we are here for their welfare,” Father Pengiparambil said. “It’s also spiritual feeding.”
He noted that St. Teresa is not a rich church, but that parishioners are eager to serve and are supporting St. Teresa’s Kitchen.
Parishioner Sandy Moore, is coordinating the effort. Moore’s husband, Deacon Joseph Moore, serves St. Teresa as a permanent deacon.
She said she was overwhelmed by how many parishioners “embraced” the project. They provided the money to make this first meal possible, she said.
She plans to reach out to local businesses to ask for support as they move forward. They are also working on getting the word out and plan to partner with local ministries that serve the needy and homeless in the area, she said.
“This was St. Teresa’s goal in life, to take care of people. It’s what we’re trying to do,” said Moore.
To learn more about St. Teresa’s Kitchen or to make a donation, call the parish office at 363-9929.