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Lower Cape kitchen delivers hot meals
[November 21, 2012]

Lower Cape kitchen delivers hot meals

WELLFLEET, Nov 21, 2012 (Cape Cod Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- So many people come to the Cape to retire, leaving their extended families behind.

But then an accident, an operation or an illness puts them in a position where they cannot cook for themselves.

That's where Mustard Seed Kitchen comes in.

The organization, which operates out of the kitchen of the First Congregational Church in Wellfleet, cooks and delivers meals to injured, sick and elderly residents of the Outer Cape, director Pat Synoradzki said.

The clients served by the nearly 40 volunteers often have been quite successful professionally -- some are former Broadway actresses, engineers or have been associated with national television programs.

Often it's home health aides who answer the door for clients when the drivers drop off free meals twice a week.

"And their faces just light up when they see us," David Koonce, vice president of the nonprofit organization said of the clients. "They are just tremendously grateful." Wellfleet resident Dave Rego, 83, suffered a stroke that has made it difficult for him to cook. On Tuesday, he described his interaction with his Mustard Seed Kitchen driver as "fellowship." "Sometimes the word from the outside is just as good as the food," Rego said.

The group's motto is "Building a community around a kitchen," Synoradzki said. "We come from all walks of life, and we're here to serve the common good." Three Wellfleet women started the Mustard Seed Kitchen in 1999. They ran it as an after-school program for local teenagers. After about five years, it evolved into a Meals on Wheels-type program of sorts and filled a niche not served by the national nonprofit agency, Synoradzki said. Meals on Wheels participants must be homebound, unable to cook their own meals and over 60, according to the organization's website.

Mustard Seed Kitchen volunteers have provided meals for a mother caring for a large family while her husband was serving in the military, for cancer patients younger than 60 and for people who just need temporary care to recover from an injury or illness.

The group gets its clients through referrals, mostly from the Visiting Nurse Association and the councils on aging, Koonce said.

Currently, Mustard Seed volunteers provide meals for 38 clients in Wellfleet, Truro and Eastham.

Each of these people Tuesday received a delivery of a hot turkey dinner including mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, string beans, cranberry sauce and stuffing.

Each also got a salad and carrot soup.

Some of the volunteers use canes to get around, and one volunteer, who has been with the kitchen since it started, is well into her 80s.

It's rewarding work, Koonce said.

"It's a wonderful feeling to offer this to people," he added.

"I really appreciate how tasty everything is. I love the soup especially," said Eleanor Landsberg, 95, of Wellfleet, as she accepted her turkey dinner.

___ (c)2012 the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) Visit the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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