A dash of faith, a pinch of compassion, and a heart full of love.
It’s the recipe for the Feed the Homeless ministry at Our Lady of Grace in Gravesend.
The Brooklyn church is alive and well, thanks to its dedicated parishioners.
Pat Fleming, who runs the church’s kitchen, is the Pulse of the Parish.
“It makes me feel good when I come down and I can do something to help out other people,” Fleming said. “Which is what Jesus really wants us to do, he wants us to help out other people.”
For the past 15 years, Fleming has been the cook for Feed the Homeless.
Cooking is a skill the Brooklynite learned as a kid out of necessity.
“When I was young in grammar school, if I wanted to eat breakfast because I was up at 6 o’clock in the morning, and my mother ain’t getting up at 6 o’clock in the morning to cook, I had to cook my own breakfast,” Fleming said.
While times have changed Fleming’s love for cooking hasn’t. In fact, it’s because of his love and camaraderie that the
“Me and my wife, we argue over who’s gonna cook, ” Fleming said. “She’s a good cook. I’m a better cook.”
After cooking the meals, which include bread, franks, rice and beans, Fleming and other volunteers will pack and place the food into insulated bags and then drive them out to Brighton Beach to share their food and their faith.
Those who are homeless often wait for them in a parking lot to be served. And even when they’re fed the work doesn’t stop there.
Volunteers continue on to the boardwalk to find others who may be in need of food, prayer, or the word.
It’s one of several things Fleming values about the ministry and its efforts of helping those in need.
“They’re taking their time out to help other people and that’s what everybody here does,” Fleming said. “We got such a great crew. People are always willing to do something else for somebody and that’s a great thing.”