Pastor denies plan to evict Pawtucket Soup Kitchen

Pastor denies plan to evict Pawtucket Soup Kitchen

PAWTUCKET – Parishioners of Holy Family Parish on Walcott Street say leaders are considering evicting the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen from the basement of the church, but the pastor of the church is denying that.

In a letter this week, longtime Holy Family parishioner and soup kitchen volunteer Leo Bessette said he and others were hearing that the new pastor at the parish, the Rev. Joseph Craddock, is taking steps toward evicting the soup kitchen from the basement of what is also known as St. Joseph Church, 195 Walcott St., which has served meals to homeless people at that location since 2008.

Bessette called the potential move “a grave injustice,” saying such a move would have a negative impact on the church and the people who eat at the facility.

Craddock on Monday denied that the church is considering evicting the nonprofit soup kitchen.

“We do have a problem here with gossip,” he said. “He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” he added of Bessette. Craddock confirmed the suggestion that the soup kitchen is hurting the church financially.

“It does do that, yes,” he said.

John Barry, secretary for Catholic charities and social ministry for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence and a city councilman in Pawtucket, said he couldn’t say much about the situation.

“The parish is concerned that the parish is losing money because of the soup kitchen,” he told The Breeze.

Adrienne Marchetti, director of the facility, said she couldn’t discuss the matter.

In his letter, Bessette said that “no one wants a soup kitchen in their backyard, but the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen has proven to be an excellent neighbor, tenant, and part of our parish,” he said. “I am proud to say that I support the soup kitchen and all their efforts in improving the quality of life for those less fortunate. There but for the grace of God go I.”

In addition to serving meals on Walcott Street, adding up to 40,000 meals per year, the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen also provides food to the St. Paul Church food pantry during the winter months, and runs a Christmas present drive for children at Christmas.

The soup kitchen rents the basement kitchen and eating space from the church, but monthly rent figures weren’t immediately available.

The Pawtucket Soup Kitchen is a nonprofit organization serving the homeless and low-income population. The facility serves breakfast and supper five days a week, as well as brunch on Saturday. Visit www.pawtucketsoupkitchen.org for more.