The summer seems to have passed very quickly. At least this year we had no construction or leaks. We also had good reliable air conditioning. Yes, we still have a lot of hot days left, but soon we will be enjoying the cooler days of fall. We thank all of you volunteers who stuck with us through the hot days of Florida. Our clients have needed all of us.
The yearly National St. Vincent de Paul “Walk for the Poor” is here. Come on out and walk with us Sept. 20 at Eagle Lake Park 1800 Keene Rd. in Largo- Shelter # 4. Reg. @ at 8:00 or preregister at kitchen. Walk starts @ 9:00 Donate what you can and get a “Walk for the Poor” T shirt.
(TBIN) TampaBay Information Network
As you may remember from the last newsletter, we will be joining TBIN. This is a way of registering our clients. It’s purpose as you may recall are several. It gives our clients an ID. It records all the services our clients receive through all Tampa Bay Area providers so we can then see what services they are getting and therefore what is further needed, what is working, and what is not working. It also provides us with the needed verification of what we do for how many clients at the kitchen. With this information we can document our services and provide them to organizations from which we may seek grants. With grants we can then create new services that will help create a systemic change in the lives of our clients. We want to go from being considered “enablers of the status quo to enablers of advancement.” Please work with us through this transition. We could use some data entry type volunteers in this process. See Pete for details.
WALTER HAINES – past President of the Soup Kitchen and also the Upper Pinellas Council of St. Vincent de Paul passed on this summer. He was one of the founders of the kitchen. His favorite saying was ” The Poor are our Passport to Heaven.” He always had a BIG smile and was tireless in his efforts to serve the poor.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PETE SCALIA
It’s now been over a year since Pete has become our Executive Director. He, as you know, is our every day hands-on person. He is a director, manager, hand holder, scheduler, rules enforcer, referee, counselor, sounding board, and many more things for us. I can personally say I would hate to be President if it were not for him. Thank you Pete. Pete and I will be going to Atlanta this month for the National St. Vincent de Paul meeting. We will likely come back with some more new and fresh ideas for the kitchen.
FEATURED VOLUNTEER PERSONAL PORTRAIT
Last newsletter as you may recall we featured Jan Bachus our remarkable volunteer. I was not sure how we could match that. This month it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Jim Wilson for anyone that does not know him. He is another remarkable person.
He was born in 1921 when William Harding was president. His home was a farm of 640 acres-230 of which were level for farming. The rest was grassland for grazing their cattle and horses. The nearest neighbor was half mile away. No one in the area had tractors or cars. He was the oldest of 4 brothers and 3 sisters. School was a one room building with one teacher for 8 grades. Jim started in the 2nd grade and got paired with 3rd graders. It continued that way and he was 16 graduating high school in 1938. All his school years he rode his horse to school. They were poor, but it was during the depression and the famed dust bowl period, and everyone in the area was in the same boat. Many area families lost everything, but Jim’s family hung on.
At 19 he left the farm and found a factory job in St. Louis finding that all miserable jobs were not just on the farm. Pearl Harbor occurred and Jim was turned down for pilot training so he volunteered for pilot training for gliders. He enlisted as a private and then got his pilot rating. He was then a flight instructor until graduating in 1944 as a second lieutenant and aviation cadet. Then on to B 17 combat training with a 10 man crew followed by flight missions in England. He flew 35 missions in the next 6 months at 29,000 ft. unpressurized with temperatures as low as -60 while breathing oxygen. Jim picked up 7 air medals and a purple heart and got promoted to Captain. That’s a long way from a saddle horse as your primary means of transportation. After returning to the states he spent the next 2 years flying c-54’s – a 4 engine transport plane around the world, including India and South America.
Then at age 25 he was off the U of Colorado for electrical engineering. After college he married Betty and went to Texas to work for a major utility. That was a little boring so after a year he returned to the lure of flying and went to Delta for a 30 yr. piloting career.
They raised 7 sons and 2 daughters. He thanks God that his mother-in-law joined them after the 5th boy was born and stayed with them for 40 years. He figures he had the best family and job possible and retired on his 60th birthday.
They moved to Florida met some friends in the initial early years of the Soup Kitchen and was hooked. Jim says “So for the next 28 years I found a way to give back and work with a lot of caring and inspirational people, the volunteers who make the Soup Kitchen what it is today. Life is good, God is good. I have had a wonderful life.”
WOW – HOW GOOD WAS THAT? Jim has been on our Board of Directors for over 25 yrs. and is still active with the kitchen. It’s been a personal pleasure to know him during those years. We are blessed at the kitchen to have his guidance and efforts. What’s next Jim? Skydiving?
Speaking of Board of Director Members...
We presently have 10 Board members ranging from 3 months to 28 years of service on the board with and average of 18 years of service on the Board. That’s a lot of experience running the soup kitchen we all love. We on the board want all of you volunteers to know how precious you are to us, to the kitchen and to our clients. God Bless You!
President SVDP Soup Kitchen Clearwater Conference
Community Kitchen and Resource Center begin in Pinellas Country in 1982. The SVdP Soup Kitchen has been at the Park St., Clearwater location since 2011. Focused on client self-sufficiency, serving breakfast to the poor and hungry.