WEST CARTHAGE — Demonstrating the teachings of Jesus to love thy neighbor, members of the Village Ecumenical Ministries with support from members of the community have performed monthly acts which they call “Love Fests.”

Most recently, they served lunch to residents of the Pleasant Night Inn on Broad Street. The motel has become a concern for area residents due to the housing of Department of Social Services clients resulting in an increase in police calls.

Jody C. Mono, a member of VEM, said the lunch was a way to help people in need.

“These people have just had a bad break or had an error in judgment,” Mrs. Mono said. “I believe it can happen to anyone and everyone deserves kindness and hope.”

The VEM group served hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, soft drinks and desserts and offered prayers and encouragement.

“We didn’t have too many today but we had fun and enjoyed talking with everyone who came out,” Mrs. Mono said.

Paresh Patel, Pleasant Night Inn manager, and the residents were appreciative of the gesture.

“It is good work that these people are doing something for the people who live here,” he said. “It is very appreciated.”

One resident who wished not to be named, said after a two-week stint in jail, she lost her home and DSS placed her at the inn.

“I’m a recovering drug addict and I asked to be here,” she said. “It would not benefit me to be in Watertown. I wanted to be away from easy access.”

The 23-year-old said she was working with a pastor to change her life in order to be able to care for her 5-year-old son and has been drug-free for 9½ months.

A parolee said the hotel’s staff and the VEM volunteers were “very good, kind and considerate.”

During previous visits to Pleasant Night Inn, VEM, which manages the food pantry in Carthage, has brought single-serve food items and excess perishable items such as bread. In addition, as one of the monthly “Love Fest” activities, the group distributed gift cards from local restaurants.

Other monthly activities have been an Easter Egg Hunt in April, a park cleanup and filling bird feeders at the Carthage Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing Home.

VEM, which adheres to its mission of “helping churches come together” in order to provide a “light for the community,” and to serve the community, also organizes weekly Stone Soup Suppers at various churches to feed those in need of nourishment or companionship, provides music entertainment and activities at the nursing homes and hosts religious services.

Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation to help VEM in its mission, may send a check to Village Ecumenical Ministries, PO Box 566, Carthage, NY 13619. If you wish to earmark the funds for a specific program, note that in the memo section of the check.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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