Thank You, Mrs.Dempsey
With more than 25 years of feeding those in need, Because He Lives Ministries gives us all a reason to be thankful.
The Woonsocket Soup Kitchen was initially established in 1986 by Mr.Paul Dempsey as part of the Christian ministry "Because He Lives." For the next decade Mr. Dempsy dedicated his life to helping the homeless, the hungry, and the downtrodden. When Mr. Dempsey died a short time later in 1996, he died a happy man, for he had lived to see his dream realized.
Today it is Mrs.Dempsey, President and Director, who keeps the kitchen running. Her job is not merely administrative but at times entails a little bit of everything, whether it be planning menus, preparing meals, or ladling out hot soup. Mrs. Elaine Lacourse, Vice President and Treasurer of the Soup Kitchen, joined Pat in the year 2000 and has since become as indispensible to Pat as she has to the volunteers and guests who count on her.
Between Mrs. Dempsey, who holds the titles of President and Director, and Mrs. Elaine Lacourse, Vice President and Treasurer, the soup kitchen has never — in all the years they've been there — had to turn a single person away. Residents know this, and are able to rest assured each and every day of at least one hot meal.
The entrance to the Soup Kitchen is located at the rear of the First Baptists Church on Blackstone Street. It's an easy five minute walk from downtown Woonsocket and a cinch to find - through the back door, down the ramp and into the basement of the church. If on Thanksgiving Day however, you're unable to walk and do not have available transportation, the volunteers in the kitchen will be more than happy to pick you up. How's that for Holiday Cheer?
Most Woonsocket residents have at one time or another seen the inside of the facility — either while volunteering, or while partaking in one of the many delicious hot meals served there.The dining room, always warm and inviting, is especially festive during the holiday season. The tables are neatly arranged in rows of three and the murals on the walls, each depicting a different event in the life of Christ and His Disciples, add to the overall impression of love, charity,and thanksgiving.
On any given day, folks wander in between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to rest, get warm, and ejoy a home cooked meal. Thanksgiving Day is not much different from any other day aside from the fact that the meal will be far more splendid, and the guests far more numerous. This year the soup kitchen is expected to recieve more than 200 guests.
According to Mrs. Lacourse, approximately 40 to 50 turkeys will have to be prepared. The staff of volunteers began months age, diligently planning, preparing, and cooking the turkeys in advance. Their goal, of course, is to have more than enough for every person who walks through the door.
Mrs Lacourse takes pride in the fact that they've never, in all the years she's been there, had to turn away a single soul.
Director Pat Dempsey will be there on Thanksgiving as usual, as will the numerous volunteers who call weeks and months ahead of time to offer their services.
Along with the turkey, guests can expect a veritable feast of trimmings. From fresh rolls, several different vegetables and cranberry sauce, to a variety of pastries, apple pie, pumpkin pie, cakes, treats, hot coffee and ice cold drinks for the kids. And rather than waiting in line cafeteria style as usual, each guest will be served table side by one of the many, dedicated volunteers
The tables will be beautifully set with tablecloths, cutlery, condiments, and a very special Thanksgiving centerpiece made by the children from one of the local schools.
The doors will open between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, but no matter what time you arrive you'll be sure to catch a few songs from the live band "The Golden Eagles". The Golden Eagles, a fabulous small two man team that plays the soup kitchen several times a year, play all the favorites from the 6o's and 70's and never fail to liven up the crowd. Guests and Volunteers alike are welcome to join in the singing and dancing that takes place after the meal.
Mrs. Lacourse describes Thanksgivng day in the soup kitchen as one of the most festive days of the year. There's always plenty of food, friendship and love to go around. For Elaine and the rest of the staff, they remain grateful that every single detail - from the salad to the coffee, is always provided. As for the volunteers, those who offer their time and services to the less fortunate do so for the chance to give back to the community, and for the feelings of love and gratitude they receive in return.
All are welcome to attend the Thanksgivng Day feast at 295 Blackstone St., in Woonsocket, RI. between the hours of 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. For those who are unable to attend due to health reasons, the staff will be handing out to-go orders.