Archive for the ‘Emmaus Ministries’ Category

Come One, Come All

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Emmaus Ministries

Every night, hundreds of Erie residents go to bed hungry and every day, hundreds of them don’t get enough to eat. There are dozens of organizations in the region trying to help. One of them is Emmaus Ministries.  They supply 200 hot meals a day at the Emmaus Soup Kitchen to anyone who comes, from infant to senior citizens. The soup kitchen provides 60 homemade meals a day at the Kids Café for inner-city children ages 6-17.  They also give out about 600 bags of groceries a week to needy families.  “You don’t have to register for anything or even pray, you just have to be hungry”, says Sister Mary Miller, Director of Emmaus Ministries.

The Emmaus Ministries believes in the dignity, value, and potential of every person.  The Emmaus Soup Kitchen was founded in 1974.  “It was during the Vietnam War and there was protesting.  They decided that demonstrating wasn’t enough, they needed to help the people suffering”, explains Miller. During the first month they were opened, approximately 800 people are served. Anyone that comes to the door is served.  In the summer, the soup kitchen serves around 150 to 250 meals a day.  All the work that is done at Emmaus is by volunteers.  “Most days providing the food is the easy part, most people just want a friend.  We really get to know our guests, we’ve been to their weddings and funerals we meet their children and grandchildren.  We are like a family”, says Margaret Kloecker, an Administrative Assistant at Emmaus.

The Ministry doesn’t just want to help people, but they want to get to know the people they are helping.  They want to direct people on to the right path and show them how great of a person they can be. Emmaus Ministries reaches out and gives support to the people of society who get left out and left behind at times of crisis, to the single mother whose life is a constant struggle and can’t provide simple necessities for her children, to the child lost in poverty, and to the working who work in the lowest of low paying jobs and never get ahead.

“When I first started this I wanted to say in my life time we could close the kitchen, which wont happen because the numbers have increased.  But the generosity and awareness of hunger in Erie has increased, too” Sister Mary Miller says.

-Bonnie Heyman

In Erie, Hundreds of people go to bed with an empty stomach. However, there are a few places that offer a free meal to these people. One of those places is Emmaus Ministries.

Emmaus Ministries has a Soup Kitchen. The Soup Kitchen provides one home cooked meal a day. “It is kind of a regular café not a place where to get food and leave. They have dignity about it and emphasizes the dignity of the people,” says Vena Eastwood, an employee of Emmaus Ministry.

Emmaus Soup Kitchen

Along with the Soup Kitchen, Emmaus Ministries also has a Food Pantry. The Food Pantry helps those who have a place to cook the food, but cannot afford it. The pantry provides about 600 emergency bags each week.The food pantry receives the food from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania.

Emmaus Ministries also offers children services.The Kids Café provides 60 meals a day. Children get help with homework, play at the gym and get a free meal. The idea of the café is for children to get a meal before going to sleep. “Getting a little love and attention rather going home to an empty house or bad situation,” says Miller.

 Miller used to believe that the Ministry would close during her life time. “When I first started this I really wanted to say in my lifetime we could close the kitchen, but that has not happened yet. It has increased, but what has also increased is the awareness and generosity of the people in Erie,” says Miller. Emmaus Ministry will continue to give kids a moment of joy, feeding people before bedtime and helping those who cannot cook for themselves.

By: Yuri Becerra

Emmaus Ministries is more than just a place to escape from the winter cold and get a hot meal, but also a place to gain a family.  “You come in and get to eat a meal with trust and dignity,” says Sister Mary Miller.


Emmaus Ministries offers a Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry and Kids Cafe.
The soup kitchen provides about 200 hot meals daily, roughly about 50,000 meals every year.

Rosanne Lindal-Hynes is part of the staff at Emmaus and comes to the soup kitchen and just listen to the stories people have.  “She has become kind of a presence at the kitchen,” says Miller.

While Emmaus ministries is one of the largest providers in Pennsylvania, the employees and volunteers still greet every single person by name.  “You don’t know how important a name is until someone from the organization says, ‘I haven’t heard my name since I was here yesterday’,” says Miller.

The food pantry distributes about 600 emergency bags each week, which is around 45,000 emergency bags each year.

“The kids are getting a little love and attention rather than going home to an empty house or a bad situation,” said Sister Mary.

If there is one thing Sister Mary, Margaret Kloecker and the rest of the people have learned, it’s that in time of need the community is behind the ministry as the employees, volunteers and people making donations.

Many people in Erie, like many people around the world, do not have enough to eat. The good news is that there are places where people can go to find help. Emmaus Ministries in Erie Pennsylvania is one of those places.

Emmaus is in charge of a Soup Kitchen, a food pantry, and a Kids Café, all of which are located downtown Erie. Sister Mary Miller is the director of Emmaus Ministries. “When I first started working for Emmaus, I was hoping to one day see the Soup Kitchen close because of there no longer being a need for it”, Miller said.

Sister Mary Miller: Director of Emmaus Ministries

The Emmaus Soup Kitchen offers one free meal a day per person and serves roughly 150 to 200 guests per day. The food pantry at Emmaus helps people with little or no money stock their shelves. “The guests are given an emergency bag to help get them over the hump”, said Miller.

The Kids Cafe at Emmaus Ministries

The Kids Café at Emmaus is a place children can call their own. Area kids can head to the café after school and play games, get help with homework, and have a nice dinner.

Emmaus Ministries relies on the generosity of the community. They receive no state or federal money. “If it wasn’t for a few certain individuals, none of the services we provide would be possible”, said Miller.

 As long as people don’t have enough to eat, the organization will continue to help by feeding the hungry and spreading love and compassion to whoever walks through their doors.

To volunteer to help Emmaus Ministries click here. To donate to Emmaus Ministries click here.