The Everett Grace Food Pantry, led by managing director Irene Cardillo, has been distributing food to residents in need in the city for the past five years.
Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis Cardillo and her group of volunteers – whose headquarters are based at 50 Church St., adjacent to the First Baptist Church – have been seeing an increased demand for the Pantry’s services that include food deliveries to senior housing complexes in Everett.
On Monday, the Pantry was giving out large bags of vegetables, individual carrot cakes, and other food items.
“Paul W. Marks [an Everett-based specialty food service distributor] not only gave us the carrot cakes but milk and cream for our clients,” said Cardillo.
Richard DelRossi founded Grace Food Pantry in Saugus a decade ago, before the Pantry moved to its current location in Everett five years ago. The Pantry is an agency of the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Cardillo said people have been expressing their gratitude to the Pantry and acting in a very respectful and orderly manner while they wait in line. “We don’t see any panic and everyone is respecting their distances because they know we’re going to give them the best of the best and as much as we can give and they can carry – we want to make sure our families are fed.”
The City of Everett has stepped up in a big way during the crisis, according to Cardillo.
“I want to thank the City of Everett because without the Mayor, the Councillors, the School Committee, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Everett Police – we really have a lot of support from the city.”
Matt Misci, whose girlfriend, DeDe Forgione, is one of the volunteer leaders, credited Everett restaurants and major businesses such as Encore Boston Harbor, for making sizable donations to the Pantry.
“It’s been amazing, a revolving cycle of donations,” said Misci. “The lines have been long, but we’ve been able to answer the need. It’s a time of crisis but this organization has been going on well before the coronavirus.”
DelRossi was profuse in his praise of Cardillo. “God bless this woman – she has done so much, lauded DelRossi.
He elaborated on Grace Food Pantry’s decision to move from Saugus to Everett. “The building that housed Grace Ministries Church was sold and we immediately connected with Everett and brought the Pantry here and it’s grown tenfold,” said DelRossi, recalling that his wife, the late Cheryl DelRossi, used to work as the kitchen manager at My Brother’s Table, a soup kitchen in Lynn.
“My daughter Annmarie said to me, ‘Let’s start a food pantry in honor of mom,’ “and this is it.”
And Irene Cardillo and her incredible group of volunteers at the Everett Grace Food Pantry are carrying on that tradition today – their efforts so much appreciated by all during this unprecedented global crisis.