By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette — A leading accounting firm and a local hospital will be among the honorees at the annual Heart, Love & Soul Recognition Dinner April 25 at the agency’s dining hall in the city’s North End.
Chiampou, Travis, Besaw & Kershner, LLC., the Amhert-based firm will be presented the “Partners in Ministry Award.” It has 83 employees including 49 certified public accountants.
Just prior to Thanksgiving, a number of those employees showed up at Heart & Soul to volunteer their services. “They’ve been doing it for several years,” said Terri O’Brien, director of human resources for the firm. She said they pack holiday food boxes for more than 400 households each year and help with serving breakfast and lunch. “We also occasionally have ‘dress-down’ days where an employee can pay money to wear more comfortable attire like jeans. The proceeds of those days are donated to Heart & Soul where they are used to celebrate our yearly anniversary with a festive meal plus toiletries and socks for each guest,” she added.
Sister Beth Brosmer, OSF, executive director of Heart & Soul, noted another honoree for the evening will be the Daughters of Charity, the religious order that operates Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Lewiston They will receive the “Spirit of Heart, Love & Soul Award.”
Sister Brosmer added: “Living in the tradition of St. Vincent de Paul, the Daughters of Charity have their eyes, ears and hearts open and ready to assist our most vulnerable citizens.”
The “Frances Ficorilli Volunteer Award” will be shared by five persons who have contribute their service weekly to the dining room and related operations at the food pantry. The award is named for the woman who helped guide the Heart & Soul organization for nearly 20 years. The recipients: Maime Simonson, Claudia Marasco, Peter Castiglone, Sister Rosa Mystica Niedda and Richard Witkowski.
The 2013 Special Recognition Award will be presented to Bertha Merchant, assistant cook and staffer for more than nine years. She is affectionately known as “Mom” while performing her daily duties with a smile and kind word for everyone, according to Sister Brosmer.
Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour will be the auctioneer for the post-dinner live auction.
Students from the Niagara University College of Hospitality and Tourism Management are preparing the dinner under the direction of Scott Beahen, who heads the NU food service operations.
Seats may be reserved at $50 (per person), $400 (a table of eight) or $500 (a table of 10). Checks should be payable to Heart, Love & Soul Inc., 939 Ontario Ave., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 14305. Additional information is available at 282-5681.
Heart & Soul was started 31 years ago by a prayer group from the former Sacred Heart Church, 11th Street and South Avenue. Since moving to the Ontario Avenue site it has played a key role in helping the needy. In 2009, the agency spent $73,450 to buy food. In 2012, the same budget item was $120,007, a 63.3 percent increase over the four years.
IF YOU GO • WHAT: Heart, Love & Soul Recognition Dinner • WHEN: 5:30 p.m. April 25 • WHERE: 939 Ontario Ave. • TICKETS: $50 per person, $400 (for a table of eight) or $500 (for a table of 10)