By Denise Dick
By DENISE DICK
A Renovation of the St. Vincent De Paul Society Dining Hall will allow the facility to continue to operate well into the future.
“It’s all up to code with the health department,” said Ralph “Skip” Barone, manager of the West Front Street hall.
A walk-in freezer, fiberglass paneling, renovated restrooms, new shelving and stainless steel sinks are some of the amenities in the $53,075 project.
“This has been the culmination of a dream,” Barone said.
The dining hall served more than 90,000 meals in 2009 with churches, social organizations and service clubs taking turns volunteering to serve.
No one is turned away at the hall, and no questions are asked, officials said.
“We make this a welcoming place,” Barone said. “We give them what may be their only hot meal of the day.”
Anthony and Mary Lariccia and their family of Boardman donated $50,000 toward the renovation project.
Carmel DeFelice, who led the renovation committee, said she received a call from Lariccia shortly after sending out a letter, announcing the project and asking for donations.
“Tony Lariccia called me and he said, ‘I loved your letter, and I want you to come Monday and pick up a check for $50,000.’”
DeFelice said she was moved by the Holy Spirit to do something for the dining hall.
“When the Lord wants something, he makes it happen,” she said.
Lariccia said the dining hall not only gives food and drink to anyone who comes and asks for it, it also gives them hope.
“We’re giving hope to the weary,” he said.
Barone said the project started about a year ago when DeFelice told him that she wanted to do something for the hall.
Bernie Willoughby, president of the St. Vincent De Paul Council, was pleased to see the project’s completion.
“I have to thank the Holy Spirit for guiding it,” Willoughby said.